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This past summer, SCOA Subsidiary SteelSummit Holdings (SSH), Toyota Tsusho America, Inc. (TAI), and Southern Mobility Products launched an original joint venture, Madison Metal Processing (MMP), in Huntsville, Alabama. MMP will specialize in blanking and warehousing steel products, including hot rolled steel, cold-rolled steel, and exposed and coated steel products. As an automotive-blanking steel processing center, this facility looks to process as much as 5,000 tons of steel per month for Mazda Toyota Manufacturing, U.S.A., Inc. (MTMUS). The name of MTMUS’s debut auto production lines are “Apollo” and “Discovery” to honor the space industry history of Huntsville, aka “Rocket City.”
“As large-scale automotive industry production operations shift their hubs to the southern states, it is important to maintain a strong partnership with TAI for the smooth launch of a new automotive assembly project in Alabama. MTMUS has a blended culture of Toyota and Mazda and MMP needs to meet the requirements from both automotive manufactures,” said Akihiko Shono, Senior Vice President and General Manager of SCOA’s Steel and Non-ferrous Metal Group.
“SteelSummit is very excited to partner with Southern Mobility Products and Toyota Tsusho to form MMP,” said Todd Rollins, CEO and President of SteelSummit Holdings. “MMP’s new state-of-the-art blanking operation provides us with the opportunity to support Mazda and Toyota’s new auto assembly operation and expands SteelSummit’s existing presence in North Alabama.”
With an investment nearing $40 million, the milestone partnership harnesses over 100 years of capabilities in the US steel and auto industries. MMP will bring considerable expertise to the region, boost the local economy and help to advance metal processing capability in Northern Alabama.
Headquartered in Tennessee, SSH became a SCOA subsidiary in 1987 as Tennessee Metals Corporation. As a leading flat-rolled metals service provider, they sell a vast majority of high-quality metal and steel inventory to the Auto industry. With this strategic partnership, SSH aims to capture the increasing demand of the automotive industry and enhance its blanking capability.
“Sumitomo Corporation Group has exclusively supplied flat roll products for Mazda’s production plants in Japan, China, Thailand and Mexico through our regional service centers for close to 40 years,” Mr. Shono said. “Madison Metal Processing business is a good addition and is quite unique for us.”
“We set up the green field operation where two OEMs — Toyota & Mazda — and Tier-1/Tier-2 are in the same location in an area called ‘Suppliers Park.’ Because of this strategic location, we have capability to supply 100% of its steel requirements.”
The plant will manufacture blanked steel panels, the precursor to automotive body parts, for up to 300,000 vehicles produced at the new Mazda-Toyota joint automotive manufacturing plant, equally producing 150,000 future Mazda’s and 150,000 Toyota crossovers annually.
“Toyota Tsusho is a major player in the global auto supply chain, and its new collaboration with an arm of Sumitomo Corporation of Americas unites two companies that are giants in their respective industries,” Alabama Governor Kay Ivey said. “This collaboration is another exciting development in the growth of the robust supplier network emerging in North Alabama to support the Mazda Toyota Manufacturing auto assembly facility.”
Trial production for the $40 million, 110,000 sq. ft. facility in Limestone County has already started, with full production beginning in mid-2022.
MTMUS has already created over a thousand local jobs for professional and skilled workers. As of September, the team encompassed 2,300 people, with Mazda Toyota set to hire another 1,700 employees to fulfill its obligation of creating 4,000 regional jobs.
Mass production of the Toyota’s Corolla Cross model has begun, with Mazda’s CX-50 model launching soon. SSH and TAI bring strength to MMP as Team ONE, providing reliable supply and efficient production together.
“Collaborations are apparent across many facets of our daily life and the establishment of MMP assists SCOA in crossing traditional lines to realize new business through this collaboration with TAI,” noted Mike Nakawatase, Deputy General Manager and Vice President of SCOA Steel & Non-Ferrous Metals Group. “We believe we are capable of utilizing the strengths of parties to create a greater whole, which will lead to quicker success.”
Over the next decade, SSH hopes to enhance their partnership with TAI through MMP and solidify alliance opportunities with the Toyota Tsusho Group. SCOA’s Steel and Non-ferrous Metal Group is thrilled to align with this meaningful partnership, bringing more value addition and job creation.
The plant will manufacture blanked steel panels used for surface body parts for up to 300,000 vehicles produced at the new Mazda-Toyota joint automotive plant, equally producing 150,000 future Mazda’s and 150,000 Toyota crossovers annually.