Some auto suppliers in Middle Tennessee knew of Volkswagen’s plan to expand its current plant in Chattanooga and begin building new SUVs. The announcement was made Monday.
Kim Ketchum, Corporate Director of Business Development for Magneti Marelli, told News 2 it is possible, and maybe likely, that contracts have already been signed by some manufacturers of car parts.
“Automotive manufacturing in the state of Tennessee is a huge driver in the state economy,” Ketchum said.
“It doesn’t mean just jobs for the plant in Chattanooga. It’s going to mean more jobs across the state,” she added.
Magneti Marelli makes headlights, taillights, shock absorbers and suspension systems in its Pulaski plant.
Ketchum said other plants across Tennessee manufacturer other parts.
“I would dare say that every component for an automobile is made right here in our state,” she said. “The automotive industry employs 100,000 people across the state.”
Sally Anderson Parker with TAMA, The Tennessee Automotive Manufacturers Association, issued a statement about the significance of the VW expansion to other manufacturers in the state.
“VW’s investment is a vote of confidence in Tennessee and the supply base. It means more high-quality jobs at the plant in Chattanooga and more jobs for the growing supply base across the state,” Parker said.
“As a result of the new research center, we are likely to see more suppliers conducting research and development as they work to integrate their products to VW’s new part designs,” she explained.
Parker added that it represents an evolution of the industry in Tennessee, bringing more high-paying and high-tech jobs to the state.