Mazda Toyota, already employing 1,600, 'on schedule' to launch production this year

May 12—Mazda Toyota Manufacturing has hired more than 1,600 employees and still plans to begin production this year at its Limestone County plant, but the company hasn't released an exact start-up date, a staffing official said.

"Mazda Toyota Manufacturing is hiring to fill about 2,400 positions," said Lyndsay Ferguson, assistant manager-HR staffing and development. "We currently employ more than 1,600 employees and we continue to welcome new employees every week."

Ferguson said the joint venture company is now accepting applications for production team members and production team leaders, skilled maintenance employees and tool and die skilled employees, in addition to supervisor and administration positions. Openings are posted at

For production team member jobs, the starting pay rate is $17, with a top rate of $23 after periodic, regular wage increases plus shift premium available when rotating.

The company's $2.3 billion 3.7-million-square-foot automotive facility in Huntsville-annexed southeast Limestone County is expected to create up to 4,000 jobs and have the capacity to assemble up to 300,000 vehicles a year. Mark Brazeal, vice president of administration for the Mazda Toyota plant, has said there will be staggered, continued hiring up to 2022.

Bethany Shockney, president and CEO of the Limestone County Economic Development Association, is optimistic that Mazda Toyota will be able to find the qualified workforce it needs.

"People are recognizing the high quality of jobs that are available there and other places and we will continue to attract new people into the community," Shockney said. "Additionally, we are continuing to implement programs in the high schools to prepare graduating seniors for these particular jobs."

Ferguson said Mazda Toyota "is on schedule to start production later this year."

Mazda Toyota had announced that production would start in the spring, and Ferguson said the shift in timing from the original schedule was announced in April 2020.

She said the delay was due to construction delays of the paint shop which existed before the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of COVID-19 including travel and business restrictions that affected training, equipment and machinery.

"MTM will start production in phases beginning with our Apollo production line, which will produce the new Toyota SUV product," Ferguson said. "Following that will be our Discovery production line, which will produce the new Mazda SUV product. After a ramp-up period, we will add a second shift for each production line." or 256-340-2438. Twitter @DD_MAccardi.