Tennessee's huge auto industry: 7 things you may not know


With three major auto manufacturing plants and nearly 1,000 auto suppliers scattered across the state, Tennessee has emerged as the primary driver behind the Southeast's fast-growing automotive industry.

If you're new to Tennessee, or even if you were born and raised, here are seven things you may not know about the Volunteer State's biggest industry.

Tennessee is home to 3 major manufacturing plants

The General Motors plant in Spring Hill producers the midsize crossover SUV the GMC Acadia and the midsize luxury crossover SUV the Cadillac XT5, while the Chattanooga Volkswagen plant produces the midsize SUV the Atlas and the midsize sedan the Passat.

The Smyrna Nissan plant makes the Leaf electric car and the compact crossover SUV the Rogue.

Speaking of Nissan ...

The plant in Smyrna is the most productive car manufacturing plant in North America. It produced 645,514 cars, trucks and SUVs in 2016, according to the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development. Nissan's North American headquarters is in Franklin.

Ahead of the curve

Tennessee is one of only three states where completely driverless vehicles are already legal, even though the technology isn't ready yet.

Rolling, rolling, rolling

Tennessee's automobile industry rolls out a new auto every 20 seconds.

A long line of suppliers

Tennessee has automotive operations in 87 of its 95 counties, including more than 900 auto suppliers, according to the Department of Economic & Community Development. Manufacturers here include Hankook Tire, Bridgestone Americas and Calsonic Kansei.

Goodbye, Saturn

Saturn opened a plant in Spring Hill in 1990. The last car rolled over the line there in March 2007 and the brand was discontinued.

The next generation of autoworkers

At some Tennessee high schools, students can obtain an associate degree in mechatronics, allowing them to enter the field upon graduating.

Source: The Tennessean by Karen Grigsby

The East Tennessee Economic Development Agency markets and recruits business for the 15 counties in the greater Knoxville-Oak Ridge region of East Tennessee. Visit www.eteda.org

Published April 13, 2018