June 10, 2011

State of Alabama
Press Release: Alabama Department of Commerce

Toyota Four-cylinder Engine Production To Start in Early Fall

June 09, 2011
toyota engine plant.jpg
V8 engines are assembled at Huntsville's Toyota truck and SUV engine plant.
(The Huntsville Times/Michael Mercier)

HUNTSVILLE -- Production on a new four-cylinder engine line at Toyota's truck and SUV engine plant in Huntsville will start in the early fall instead of this summer as a result of the parts shortages caused by the March 11 earthquake in Japan.

Hiring and production trial schedules will be adjusted slightly to accommodate the new production start date, according to plant spokeswoman Tina Gess."We view this as a minor scheduling adjustment," she said.

The four-cylinder project is still creating more than 240 jobs, Gess said. As of early June, more than 160 employees had been hired, and the remaining 85 positions will be filled by August.

The North Huntsville plant, called Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama, already builds V6 and V8 engines for Tacoma and Tundra pickup trucks and Sequoia full-size sport utility vehicles. Production is being adjusted for those lines through July because of the parts shortages.

The V6 engine line returned to full production this week except for one scheduled non-production day on July 22, Gess said.

Production on the V8 engine line will be suspended every Monday and Friday this month and in July except for July 22. Also, the period of July 5-8 is scheduled for non-production.

There will be no layoffs because of the production suspensions, according to Gess. Employees have four options for the days when production is shut down: Use vacation time, take unpaid time off, report to work or report to a community service site.

As of Wednesday, plant employees have used 13 non-production days in May and June to spend more than 14,000 hours on tornado relief efforts across the Tennessee Valley. Employees have worked on 73 different projects across eight Alabama counties, including cleaning up debris in Madison County, removing trees for homeowners near Flat Rock, unloading and sorting donations at distribution centers in Limestone County and restoring a 200-year-old cemetery in Hanceville.

Last week, almost 300 employees worked each day on disaster-related projects, Gess said.

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