It's Official: Toyota Chooses Mississippi over Marion

February 27, 2007 - Posted at 9:31 a.m. CST

MARION, AR -- The next Toyota manufacturing plant will be built in Tupelo, Mississippi.  The news is a disappointment for residents and city leaders who have been working hard to lure the plant to Marion.

This isn't the first time Marion has been the first runner-up, in 2002 they lost out to San Antonio, Texas.

"It's always a setback when you loose a project.  Are we going to bounce back? Absolutely, I'll be talking to new prospects tomorrow," said Marion Director of Economic Development Kay Brockwell.

"We're regretful that Toyota chose to go somewhere else, but obviously Toyota needed to choose what was best for them," said Marion Mayor Frank Fogleman.

"I think the fact that Toyota has looked at our site on more than one occasion only affirms that our site is a world class premiere location," said Fogleman.

Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe said on Tuesday that he has been told by Toyota that the air quality in Marion was one of the reasons the city wasn't chosen.

Regardless, the city of Marion is will keep moving forward looking for another industry to move in.

"We're certainly not married to Toyota.   We'd be happy to talk to them or any other auto manufacturer that wants to come," said Brockwell.

Governor Beebe also said the state was willing to offer Toyota $200,000,000 in incentives to come to Arkansas.

The manufacturing plant in Mississippi will be Toyota's eighth plant in the United States.