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Tennessee becomes auto hub

July 27, 2008 at 8:56 PM

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., July 27 (UPI) -- A planned influx of auto industry jobs in Chattanooga could help the Tennessee state economy, experts say.

About 2,000 jobs are planned for Volkswagen's new plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., The (Nashville) Tennessean reported Sunday.

Tennessee has gone from no auto manufacturing jobs 30 years ago to becoming one of the leading auto-industry hubs, the newspaper said.

Nissan has moved its North American headquarters to the Nashville area and General Motors Corp.'s decision this year to reopen the former Saturn plant to build a new Chevrolet crossover utility vehicle could be a boon to the state economy.

"Certainly we want a balanced economy, but no one is going to turn down more automotive if it happens," said Bill Fox, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Tennessee. "It's not really unbalanced now, as we have more than 60,000 jobs statewide in the transportation-equipment industry, and not all of that is automobiles."

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