Nissan will invest $160 million to build a new supplier park at its Smyrna vehicle assembly plant, creating more than 1,000 new jobs:
U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) Tuesday joined Gov. Bill Haslam and Nissan executives at the announcement that the auto manufacturer would produce the 2016 Nissan Maxima at its manufacturing plants in Smyrna and Decherd, which Alexander said is "one more example of how Nissan has transformed Tennessee's economy."
"When Nissan came to Tennessee more than 30 years ago, there were almost no auto jobs in the state - now three decades later, about one-third of our manufacturing jobs are auto-related, auto suppliers have located in 80 counties, and our family incomes are higher," Alexander said. "I want to thank Nissan for providing opportunities for thousands of talented Tennesseans, such as Nissan Vice-President for Manufacturing in Smyrna, Randy Knight."
In 1978, during his walk across the state to become governor of Tennessee, Alexander spent one night at the home of Billy and Lillian Knight in Rutherford County. Mrs. Knight told Alexander that her biggest fear was that her three sons would never be able to find good jobs nearby and that she would never see her grandchildren. Two years later, as governor, Alexander helped recruit the Nissan plant to Rutherford County. Two of the Knight sons found jobs at Nissan and one of them, Randy, is Nissan's vice-president for manufacturing today.
Tennessee is now at the center of the most productive and efficient part of the American auto industry, Alexander said. According to the Tennessee Department of Economic Development, the state continues to be recognized for its automotive sector. In 2013, Business Facilities named Tennessee No. 1 for Automotive Manufacturing Strength for the fourth consecutive year, as well as No. 4 for Auto Parts Suppliers. Alexander said the Nissan announcement will help to continue the state's auto success as the best state for new auto jobs.