Toyota Resumes Construction of Mississippi Plant

Toyota Motor Co. said Thursday it will resume construction of an automaking plant in Mississippi and it expects to begin building its popular Corolla model there by fall of 2011.

The Japanese automaker stalled construction of the plant because of the global financial crisis and resulting slump in U.S. auto sales.

Toyota said it will "soon" hire 2,000 workers for the plant. Once the plant opens, "nearly all" Corollas for the North American market will be built in North America. The company has been importing them from Japan.

"Toyota appreciates the patience of Gov. (Haley) Barbour and all Mississippians, but we first needed to fully utilize our existing facilities as the economy slowed," said Yoshimi Inaba, president and operating chief of Toyota's North America operations. "Now it's time to fulfill Toyota's promise in Mississippi."

Toyota has faced intense scrutiny recently due to a massive recall of more than 8.5 million vehicles because of gas pedal-related issues. In May, the company reported a surprise fiscal fourth-quarter profit despite the recalls and predicted a surge in net profit this fiscal year as it looked to boost sales in Asia and cut costs.

American depositary shares of Toyota closed Wednesday at $72.78 and were inactive premarket. They have fallen 14 percent this year.