The new Mazda Toyota Manufacturing plant in Huntsville, Alabama has started production of the Mazda CX-50 off-road-focused SUV. The name of the facility is pretty self-explanatory, and the kick-off of production this week marks several firsts.
Total production at the new plant, which entailed a $2.3 billion investment by the two Japanese automakers, is expected to hit 300,000 units per year once it hits cruising speed. The Toyota Corolla Cross is already being built there, and it has now been joined by the CX-50 SUV, billed as a more-rugged adjunct to the popular CX-5 compact SUV.
The new CX-50 thus becomes the first new Mazda produced on American soil since 2012. It is also the automaker’s first foray into making a more adventure-focused vehicle, able to handle rougher off-road terrain while maintaining the comfort levels and sportiness of the CX-5. Fittingly, the vehicle that marks the return to U.S. manufacturing for Mazda is a model conceived specifically for the North American market.
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