Tennessee and Mississippi leaders vying for auto plant

HAYWOOD COUNTY, Tenn. — Tennessee and Mississippi are both vying for a car manufacturing plant that could bring with it 4,000 jobs.

State leaders are keeping details quiet about how they're wooing Toyota and Mazda.

The two are looking to build a joint assembly plant.

However, WREG spoke with a top Tennessee lawmaker who says the state has been preparing itself for years, and residents say they're ready too.

Just off Interstate 40 past Memphis in Haywood County sits four-thousand acres of real estate, ready and waiting to house the next big thing.

State and local leaders have been promoting the Memphis Regional Megasite for the last few years, so could it be home to a joint Toyota-Mazda plant?

The facility will reportedly produce more than 300-thousand cars a year, and employ up to four-thousand people.
WREG spoke with State Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, who was traveling Thursday.

He wouldn't comment specifically on this potential deal.

"But I can say this, we`ve worked very hard in Tennessee to make this the kind of state where advanced industries, be they automotive manufacturing or avionics or any number of others want to locate," Norris said.

Norris isn't just talking about places like the megasite, but about people and training programs focused on preparing them like Governor Bill Haslam's Drive to 55.

"They know that Tennessee is the kind of place that`s working hard to educate a modern day workforce," Norris said, "that we`ll have a productive pipeline of talent ready for them/ when they arrive."

Speaking of a talent, WREG talked to people in Stanton, Tennessee, a town not too far from the megasite.

"That`s awesome we need it."

Brenda Hinsley has lived in the community for 10 years and she says growth for the entire area is long overdue.

"This is really bad around here, nobody has work, there is no work," Hinsley said, "it`s a small town so I think it would be great."