And the Toyota/Mazda Plant Goes To…September 11, 2017 | By: Steve Duncan
Amazon’s announcement of an upcoming second headquarters in a to-be-determined location may have stolen some of the spotlight, but the most imminent mega-deal in the U.S. remains the $1.6 billion, 4,000-job Toyota/Mazda joint venture.
The Wall Street Journal recently named 11 states believed to be under consideration. That said, DCI recently surveyed site selection consultants from our LocationAdvisors.net database, the most comprehensive in North America, to see who they thought would break out the cigars when it’s all said and done. With 69 consultants responding, the favorites were:
1. Texas – 15
2. North Carolina – 14
3. South Carolina – 9
4. Indiana – 7
5. Alabama – 6
T6. Kentucky – 5
T6. Michigan – 5
T6. Mississippi – 5
9. Illinois – 2
T10. Iowa – 0
T10. Florida – 0
The state of Georgia received the only write in vote. We break down the Toyota/Mazda deal with one of the consultants, Dean Barber of Barber Business Advisors, in our latest The Project podcast, titled “Who Will Win $1.6 Billion Toyota/Mazda Plant? Site Consultants Speculate.” As we dug deeper into the justification for why consultants chose who they did, a few take-aways jumped out:
- Tom-AY-to, Tom-AH-to: Funny how the same thing can look so different to the same demographic. Texas and South Carolina (along with states 4-6) were favorites because of the presence of existing OEMs, an automotive cluster and their supply chain networks, with an existing Toyota presence cited as an added bonus. Yet North Carolina (and popular “second choice” candidates Iowa and Georgia) were selected for the opposite reason—a lack of major OEMs and, most specifically, no existing Toyota plant.
- My Workforce and Incentives Are Better than Yours: Existing presence (or not) aside, it was also fascinating that the reasons in favor of one state over the others were along very common grounds—excellent supply chain networks and/or infrastructure, outstanding workforces, excellent workforce training programs, competitive incentives. If nothing else, the states above can feel confident that their key messages are resonating with influencers, but the similarity of responses across a diverse group of locations shows that a state’s business advantages are still frequently viewed through the personal lens of each consultant.
- The X Factor in Economic Development: Politics: Not that politics has never played a role in mega-deals, but usually workforce and incentives had the biggest say in where a company would locate. The times are a-changin’. Several consultants thought swing-state considerations (or in the case of Indiana, Mike Pence’s involvement) would drive the final decision.
Where do you think the Toyota/Mazda plant will land? Share with us below. In the meantime, don’t miss our “Who Will Win $1.6 Billion Toyota/Mazda Plant? Site Consultants Speculate” podcast with Dean Barber.
P.S. We hope you’ll check out DCI’s database of site consultants/influencers, LocationAdvisors.net. My DCI colleague Daniel Wohlner will be pleased to set up any economic development organization with a complimentary, two-week trial to the database. Just email Daniel at [email protected].