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Tunica Auto Plant

Lawsuit unveils plans for hybrid cars built in Tunica

By John Howell Sr.

Local officials expressed surprise Thursday at published reports about a Chinese auto manufacturer’s plans to locate a $6.5 billion plant to build hybrid cars on 3,500 acres at a Tunica County industrial mega-site.

The reports cited 25,000 jobs at the facility.

“That would be great if it’s true,” Panola Partnership Chief Executive Officer Sonny Simmons said. “There would be all sorts of spinoffs for our area.”

Simmons said that he had not been aware of the project. He said that extreme secrecy surrounding a big project was typical, but expressed skepticism at the figure of 25,000 jobs.

State Representative Warner McBride said that he had not heard about the plans.

Reports of the auto manufacturer’s plans were revealed through court documents generated by a lawsuit involving the ownership group and a subsidiary, The Commercial Appeal reported.

Rumors have circulated in the state during recent weeks that Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour would announce this year a venture to build hybrid autos capable of traveling 100 miles on a gallon of gasoline.

A Barbour spokesman, quoted in the story, said the governor had no comment about ongoing economic projects.