Desperate for work, Miss. town awaits Toyota plant

BLUE SPRINGS, Miss. — Terry McShan isn’t thinking about car sales analyses or excess capacity when he drives by the idle Toyota plant in northeast Mississippi. He’s thinking about his little girl.

Like most Mississippians, the 46-year-old father of one grown daughter and a 4-year-old girl was thrilled when Toyota announced plans in 2007 to build a plant in Blue Springs, a one-store town in the north Mississippi hills. McShan soon enrolled in a junior college’s automotive program in hopes of landing a job at the plant.

Those were better times, when the car market was strong, Mississippi officials gladly signed off on a $324 million incentive package and Toyota said it would be building cars in Blue Springs in 2010. Three years later, the economy has tanked, one of the most trusted brands in the business has recalled millions of cars and McShan will graduate with no immediate prospects for a Toyota job in Mississippi.

AP
2/28/10