The 2014 Toyota Corolla was officially unveiled Saturday in front of a large crowd at the BancorpSouth arena in Tupelo.
Showing off the new model was a part of the Toyota Corolla line-off ceremony and a carnival theme for Toyota Team Mississippi Appreciation Day.
Phil Rodi, vice president of manufacturing with Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Mississippi (TMMMS), Inc., was the master of ceremonies at the event.
He said, “We celebrate a big milestone for our plant in Blue Springs and our suppliers as we unveil the 2014 Toyota Corolla today…we think every day that Toyota team members out on its own version of the greatest show on Earth.”
“To our team members, we would not be able to celebrate this milestone without you. Each of you has given many hours away from your family and dedicated many long days to ensuring we build a high quality Corolla to make the 11th generation Corolla model change a success. Without your determination, we would not have a successful model launch. Thank you for your hard work and dedication,” said Masa Hamaguchi, president of TMMMS. “To the families of our team members, I would like to personally thank you for your patience and understanding during this model change. Your support of our Team Members extra time at work has been instrumental in their success in launching the new model Corolla and our success as a company.”
He added, “To our supplier team members, Toyota Mississippi would not be able to build high quality Corollas without you. Each of you have put in many long hours and worked very hard to ensure we build high quality Corollas. And for your dedication, I sincerely thank you. To the families of our supplier team members, you have also supported this model launch with understanding and support of long hours and weekend work. This has also been very important to our success and we are very grateful to you. This week, global Toyota sales hit 40 million. Toyota Mississippi is proud to have contributed to this milestone.”
Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves said, “Our number one priority in Mississippi is job creation. The government does not create jobs, but we create the environment to create jobs and I want to say that the employees at Toyota Mississippi are doing a phenomenal job. Toyota has sold 40 million units worldwide and the next 40 million will be made in Mississippi, but that would not be possible without Toyota Mississippi team members and their families and the Toyota Mississippi suppliers and their families. You have proven that if we give you a chance, you will be successful and everyone will be impressed at what Mississippians can do.”
Hamaguchi said, “We are so pleased that Toyota Mississippi was chosen to produce Toyota’s all-time best-selling car. Our team members and supplier team members take pride in making sure that this eleventh generation Corolla will be built with excellent quality. Toyota team members and the team members of our suppliers are and will continue to be the keys to our success.”
Congressman Alan Nunnelee said, “There are many who saw the dream of cars being made in Mississippi and those who didn’t. Those who saw this dream knew this day would come and I bought into that dream and I supported legislature to make sure infrastructure would come to make that dream happen. And it did. The unveiling of the 2014 Toyota Corolla is a way to showcase that Mississippi is a great place to do business.”
Nunnelee said that there are many reasons why Mississippi is a good place to do business, including the abundance of natural resources and because of the men and women in our workforce.
Carl Phillips, tool and die team member for TMMMS, said, “At Toyota, we are as proud of the quality of our products as I am the quality of life for myself and my family. When I received the phone call with the opportunity to work at Toyota, I was excited! I was also happy that I had the opportunity to move back home and closer to the most important thing to me – my family in Water Valley Mississippi.”
“After hearing about Toyota’s history and how they value family and the safety of all team members, I was eager to begin my new career. Since starting my job almost three years ago, I have had the great opportunity to work with different people from different cultures who are all working toward one common goal – to build a high quality product and support fellow team members,” said Phillips. “Because of Toyota’s positive impact on my life and my community, I am proud to say that one day I will retire from the company that builds the Toyota Corolla. The world’s most popular sedan. And I am more proud to say I have made a new family in the process. My Toyota Mississippi family.
He added, “I want to thank every Toyota Mississippi and supplier team member for your hard work and dedication and for helping to improve the quality of our communities. Without each and every one of you, our new chapter in Toyota’s history would not be possible. Thank you.”
Hamaguchi said, “The Corolla is not built with one part. It is not built by one person. And it is not built by one company. It takes all of us, Toyota Mississippi and our strong supplier support, working together as one team, to produce high quality Corollas. The strength, patience and dedication of each and every one of you during this project has been the backbone of our success, and for that, I say thank you.”