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List of automotive suppliers
East Tennessee Automotive Brochure
Automotive OEM Map

The U.S. automotive industry is going through a transformation to become more competitive globally, creating leaner more efficient operations with fewer employees.  The industry also is looking at alternative means of powering vehicles such as electric and battery operated.  The location of Volkswagen in close proximity to our region, along with the shifts in the industry and our right-to-work laws, make Tennessee an excellent location for the next phase of growth in the automotive sector.

The American South is the fastest-growing automotive region in North America.  For example, six of the seven new OEM car and light truck assembly plants announced in the U.S. in the last 10 years are in the Southern Automotive Corridor.    

East Tennessee, located in the middle of the Southern Automotive Corridor,  enjoys easy access to manufacturers throughout the South, including a one-hour drive to the $1 billion Volkswagen OEM

Both suppliers and OEMs have found that our region offers many benefits to the automotive industry, including: 

  • a prime location at the juncture of Interstates I-75, I-40 and I-81,
  • more than 20 auto assembly facilities within 400 miles, 
  • more than 50 manufacturers producing assemblies and sub-assemblies from metal, plastics, and textiles,  
  • a skilled and experienced automotive workforce,
  • access to automotive and advanced materials research and
  • an overall favorable business climate.

    In addition, the region offers an excellent selection of suitable buildings and sites within a day’s drive of 70 percent of the U.S. market and direct access to advanced research programs and facilities.  For a list of automotive firms in the region, click here.

Business Climate  
Pro-business environment - Favorable business tax climate consistently in the top 1/3 of U.S. states

  • Attractive state, local, and utility incentives for new job creation and capital investment
  • State taxes ranking among the nation's lowest 
    • No state property tax 
    • Competitive corporate taxes 
    • Available targeted jobs tax credit
  • Competitive gas, water, and sewer rates   
    • Electricity generated by the Tennessee Valley Authority at rates 13% below the U.S. industrial average 
    • Electricity reliability at 99.999% since 2000
    • Abundant water supply
    • Gas by East Tennessee Natural Gas
  • Available Buildings and Sites
    • Building costs 19% below the national average (RSMeans Construction Index 2015) 
    • Competitive lease rates
  • Right-to-work state


  • Flexible, growing workforce of 550,000 in 15-county region
  • Workforce of 780,000 in 32 laborshed counties
  • Manufacturing workforce of 49,000 at costs 7% below the U.S. average 
  • More than 5,000 engineers
  • Customized workforce training
  • Transferable skill sets
  • Competitive workers compensation rates
  • FastTrack Job Training Assistance Program with training to quickly provide skilled workers
  • Four Technology Centers and three community colleges in region
  • Major automotive and automotive parts producing state


  • Located at juncture of three major interstates: I-40, I-75, and I-81
  • 70% of the US market within a day's drive
  • Excellent access to existing network of raw materials suppliers, from steel to plastics to automotive electronics
  • Rail service by Norfolk Southern, CSX, and local short-line railroads
  • Barge service on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway System
  • Regional airport offers more than 125 flights daily to 20 major U.S. destinations
  • US Customs Port of Entry and Foreign Trade Zone designation
  • Easy access to deepwater ports on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts


  • Home of the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Technology Corridor
  • Access to technology research at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the world's premier laboratory in advanced materials
  • 16 user facilities across multiple disciplines
  • Center for Transportation Research, created in 1970 to foster and facilitate interdisciplinary research, public service and outreach in the field of transportation at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK)
  • National Transportation Research Center, one of the most diverse concentrations of transportation researchers in the U.S. with researchers from the ORNL and UT
  • Automotive Research Alliance provides access to research funding; scientists, engineers and researchers; and laboratories and equipment.

The East Tennessee region appeals to suppliers and OEMs because of its low operating costs, incredibly talented and hard working labor, and the state’s right-to-work status.

Automotive workers in manufacturing

Automotive manufacturing in East Tennessee

Automotive manufacturing

East Tennessee automotive sector