Toyota-Mazda makes NC oh-for-25-years in landing auto plants

Akio Toyoda, Masamichi Kogai
FILE- In this Aug. 4, 2017, file photo, Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda, left, and Mazda Motor Corp. President Masamichi Kogai shake hands after a press conference in Tokyo. Japanese automakers Toyota and Mazda have picked Alabama as the site of a new $1.6 billion joint-venture auto manufacturing plant, a person briefed on the decision said Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The decision by Toyota and Mazda to build a car factory in Alabama means another economic miss for North Carolina, one of the rare Southeast states never to land a modern car-maker.

The car companies on Wednesday announced Alabama at their choice over North Carolina for a factory that could eventually employ 4,000 workers.

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North Carolina has recruited and failed to land factories over the past quarter-century that BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen, Volvo and others instead built in other Southeast states.

State Senate leader Phil Berger expressed bitter disappointment at losing out again, but the Republican praised Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and his top business recruiter for doing everything possible to close the deal.

Berger thinks North Carolina lost out primarily because the state is distant from its existing parts suppliers.

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