Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama team members happily welcomed the arrival of their 4 millionth engine yesterday.
“It was an exciting day,” said Jim Bolte, president of Toyota Alabama. “This is a testament to our team members – they are dedicated to building high-quality engines. And, whether it was the first in 2003, or the 4 millionth, the same amount of detail and craftsmanship goes into each one.”
While the plant makes V6 and V8 engines as well, the 4 millionth engine was produced on the 4-cylinder line.
The 4 millionth is quite a feat:
- Since the start of production in 2003, the Huntsville plant has built 1 million 4-cylinder engines, 1.3 million V6 engines and 1.7 million V8 engines.
- The engines go into seven Toyota vehicles built in North America: Camry (America’s best-selling car), RAV4, Highlander, Sequoia, Tacoma, Tundra and Venza.
- Place the 4 million engines built over the last 12 years front to back and they would stretch from Huntsville to Las Vegas.
- Spend two shifts in the plant and you’ll see a lot of horsepower – nearly 2,500 engines are built each day with an annual capacity of 710,000 engines. The horsepower of 4 million engines reaches over 1 billion, which is enough output to launch 29 space shuttles.
The Huntsville plant, which employs approximately 1,300, has distinguished itself in the Toyota family – not just in the U.S., but worldwide. For example, it is the only Toyota plant globally to produce the 4-cylinder, V6 and V8 engine under one roof, making it among the largest Toyota engine plants globally. Also, it is one of only two designated “model sustainable plants” in North America, which results in other Toyota facilities benchmarking for its environmental achievements.
“We look to the Alabama plant as a leader. Every challenge it has faced, the team there exceeds any-and-all expectations,” said Osamu Ushio, executive vice president of operations and manufacturing, Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. “That is why we continue to invest so much into the facility. They have what it takes to be successful – a strong group of team members who are dedicated to quality and safety. They should be very proud of the 4-millionth milestone.”
In the last 10 years, the plant has taken on five major investments and four expansions. Most recently, a project costing $230 million was completed that involved a boost to V6 production. That brings total plant investment to $864 million since the 2001 groundbreaking.
“I can’t believe we hit 4 million,” said Tina Lane, Toyota Alabama team member who has been building engines on the line since the plant opened. “There is a lot of pride that goes along with it. Just think, 4 million Toyota vehicles around the world are being powered by our engines; that’s a big responsibility.”