Plant interior of HP Pelzer, an automotive supplier located in Athens, Tennessee

Automotive Manufacturing

Why are automotive manufacturing companies choosing the Greater Chattanooga Region?


Location, Location, Location

Located at the cross section of three major interstates—I-75, I-59 and I-24—the Chattanooga region is considered a logistical sweet spot. Excellent north/south and east/west connectivity means automotive suppliers are an easy drive from all southern automotive assembly facilities and can take advantage of one-day shipping to one-third of U.S. consumer markets. Less than a two-hour drive from metro Atlanta, Birmingham, Nashville and Huntsville, the area enjoys easy access to some of the Southeast’s most flourishing markets and more than 150 transportation carriers. It’s no wonder the region is one of the top 10 distribution locations in the U.S.


World-Class Talent and Training

Companies in the region benefit from a large pool of non-union workers with manufacturing expertise. A boon to the continuous development of manufacturing talent, local community colleges and 12 accredited higher education institutions offer customized technical training programs that have served more than 200 businesses and trained more than 12,000 workers in a variety of sectors, including: 

  • Car Mechatronics
  • Automation Mechatronics
  • Applied Science and Engineering Technology
  • Machine Tool Technology
  • Welding

In addition, the region’s proximity to universities such as Georgia Tech, Emory, Vanderbilt, Middle Tennessee State University, the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and the University of Alabama Huntsville allows for an expansive approach to recruitment.


Sites and Infrastructure

When it comes to site selection, the Chattanooga region boasts numerous low-cost utilities—including one of the country’s only smart grids—and an abundant water supply from the Tennessee River. And with the availability of electric power that meets the needs of any size manufacturer, selecting one of the region’s numerous sites, many of which are certified, is easier than ever.

Denso Manufacturing has chosen the Greater Chattanooga Region for three expansions in five years at their Athens, Tennessee facility.

The Japanese automotive supplier manufactures ignition, exhaust and gasoline delivery systems for the automotive industry.

Since the plant was built in 2003, the company has hired nearly 1,400 employees to work in the 700,000 square foot facility.

Tax Advantages and Incentives

Automotive manufacturing companies that choose the Chattanooga region benefit from not only a wide selection of strategically located sites and a well-prepared labor force but also tremendous potential cost savings. Property taxes are not collected on goods-in-process, inventoried finished goods, inventoried for-sale merchandise, goods in transit, or government-required pollution control equipment. As further incentive, tax abatements allow qualified businesses to substantially reduce their property tax burden. Foreign Trade Zone opportunities, state training, and infrastructure grants are also available throughout the region.


Top Employers in the Industry
Company Employees Product/Service Location
Volkswagen Chattanooga 3,800 Automobiles Chattanooga, TN
Denso Manufacturing 1,600 Automotive parts Athens, TN
Gestamp Chattanooga, LLC 1,018 Metal parts stamping Chattanooga, TN
Manufacturers Industrial Group 517 Metal seat frames Athens, TN
Shiroki North America, Inc. 420 Auto bodies Dalton, GA
E&E Manufacturing 392 Automotive stamping Athens, TN
Plastic Omnium Auto Exteriors 358 Front-end & fender modules  Chattanooga, TN
Total Network Manufacturing (TNM)  354 Automobile seat assembly Chattanooga, TN 
HP Pelzer 101 Automotive parts Athens, TN

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam announces the 500-job expansion of Volkswagen supplier Gestamp in Chattanooga, Tennessee 


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