BLUE SPRINGS – The 12th-generation Toyota Corolla will officially roll of the assembly line at Toyota Mississippi in Blue Springs on March 18.

“The Corolla has been a good-selling car for us, and I think the new model will be even better,” said Jim Nichols, fleet manager and factory relations liaison at Carlock Toyota in Tupelo.

Toyota Motor Co. has invested $1.2 billion in the Blue Springs plant, which began production in October 2011. It recently invested $170 million for new equipment and tooling in anticipation of the next-generation Corolla. Toyota Mississippi also has added 400 new team members, bringing the total work force to nearly 2,000.

Toyota Mississippi built about 1.2 million 11th-generation Corollas.

Area suppliers, including Auto Parts Manufacturing Mississippi in Baldwyn, Toyota Boshoku in Dorsey and Diversity Vuteq in New Albany, also have expanded their operations as they prepare for the new Corolla.

And a trivia note: The last 11th-generation Corolla to roll off the line in Blue Springs was Barcelona Red, the same color as the 100,000th, 500,000th and 1 millionth Corolla that were produced at the plant. But there are no plans to keep the last vehicle – it’s headed to a dealer somewhere in the U.S., officials said.

— Daily Journal