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Tri-Cities TN/VA Region Ideal for Tier 1 Auto Suppliers

The Tri-Cities region of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia continues to be an attractive location for automotive suppliers. In the past year alone, four automotive projects have been announced, three of which were foreign direct investments to the region.

Automotive Site Guide 2008
Last year, two Japanese firms, Koyo (a JTEKT company) and Nakatetsu Machining Technologies, announced a joint venture to build tapered bearing manufacturing facilities in Johnson City, Tennessee. The initial $40 million investment brings with it 150 new jobs. Steve McCullough, general manager of Koyo USA says, "Washington County meets our needs with an experienced work force and an ideal logistical location, plus the outstanding commitment and cooperation from the state, county, TVA, regional utilities, and the surrounding cities."

Sam Dong Co. Ltd., a Korean automotive supplier, also located a new manufacturing facility to the region last year. Sam Dong is a Tier 2 supplier of copper wiring used in transformers for the automotive industry and currently employs 100 people at its Rogersville, Tennessee, plant. "From this location, the North American market and some export opportunities can be very effectively served," says Leon Molloy, the company's North American president.

The most recent automotive investment to the region came from Borla Performance Industries of Oxnard, California. Borla, which has locations in California and Michigan, plans to close existing facilities and move its entire operation to Johnson City, Tennessee. Borla designs and builds high-performance exhaust systems for street, off-road, and racing vehicles. The company has plans to create up to 200 jobs in the region. "We knew we needed to go to a more attractive area where the labor base is available and people can enjoy a nice lifestyle," says Alex Borla, the company's CEO.

Brandon Talbert, Manager - Marketing & Client Services
The Regional Alliance for Economic Development
P.O. Box 1119
Blountville, TN 37617
Toll-Free Phone: 866-704-8102
Fax: 423-323-8115

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