[dropcap]I[/dropcap]f the 5 million engines that Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama has produced over the past 14 years were lined up side by side, they would stretch from Huntsville to Los Angeles!
“Five million, that’s incredible. You just don’t think in those terms,” says Theodore Bridgeforth, a group leader and original team member who helped bring that first engine forth back in 2003. “It was special, seeing the first engine go from months of planning and design to actually coming off the line. And while we now make a lot more product, the same care and quality goes into each engine – that has not changed.”
Incredible and unique. Since that first V8 rolled off the line, the plant has added V6 and 4-cylinder lines, making it the only Toyota facility worldwide to have all three under one roof. The 5 millionth engine – a V6 – was the result of a $230 million investment in that line in 2014. In 15 years, the plant has expanded four times, multiplying employment from 300 to nearly 1,500 with a total investment of $864 million. In the U.S., Toyota directly and indirecIf the 5 million engines that Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama has produced over the past 14 years were lined up side by side, they would stretch from Huntsville to Los Angeles! tly employs 136,000.
With 702,014 engines built in 2016 (a record breaking year), Toyota Alabama produces engines for the Camry, RAV4, Highlander, Tacoma, Tundra and Sequoia. Those engines are shipped to three of Toyota’s assembly plants in the U.S. including operations in Indiana, Kentucky and Texas. The Alabama plant is part of Toyota’s nearly $22 billion investment in the U.S. to date. Over the next five years the company will invest an additional $10 billion in the U.S.
“On one hand it is hard to fathom we have built 5 million engines,” says David Fernandes, plant president. “However, when you take into account the dedication and craftsmanship of our team members, it isn’t so hard to believe. They have met every challenge and continue to build an incredible product in a safe and efficient way.”
So what does 5 million engines really mean?
- If each engine powered a vehicle 200,000 miles, the 5 million engines would go from the earth to the sun and back over 5,000 times.
- 5 million engines equals the weight of three Empire State Buildings.
- That’s a true Hollywood story.To celebrate the milestone, Toyota will donate $50,000 to the Huntsville Library Foundation, supporting the North Huntsville Library project.