At the official announcement that Toyota Battery Manufacturing Inc. had committed to building a new $1.29 billion facility at the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite, there was a lot of talk about the Toyota plant the megasite lost four years ago.
Those involved four years ago were convinced that the Toyota-Mazda vehicle manufacturing plant was coming to the megasite and the only question was when the announcement would be made. When that announcement was made, it was that the plant was going to Alabama.
One of the reasons Toyota made the decision to build its first battery manufacturing facility at the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite, according to Chris Reynolds, the chief administrative officer for Toyota North America, was how impressed Toyota was with the response to the disappointment of the announcement in 2018 that the Toyota-Mazda vehicle manufacturing plant was going to Alabama.
Reynolds said that the decision announced on Monday was due to the enthusiasm, perseverance and cooperation across party lines from the North Carolina leadership after losing that plant four years ago.
Reynolds said that enthusiasm to get it right impressed Toyota, and the Toyota team decided these were people they wanted to work with.
Reynolds and Gov. Roy Cooper were both somewhat guarded but also clear that this announcement was just the first Toyota planned to make about the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite.
Cooper said, “We hope in the future everything that goes around the battery will be a part of this as well.” Of course, “everything that goes around the battery” is a hybrid or electric vehicle.
Reynolds said that this was the beginning of Toyota’s “longstanding commitment to North Carolina” and added, “the best is yet to come.”
The indications are that Toyota plans not to build on the 685 acres of the megasite that Randolph County is giving to the company for this project, but on the entire 1,825 acres. The big hints were that Toyota has plans to build an electric vehicle manufacturing plant on the same megasite with the battery manufacturing plant.
As Reynolds said when speaking about Toyota’s commitment to produce electric vehicles, “The future looks bright for this site in North Carolina.”