Will loosened pandemic restrictions bring more jobs to Chattanooga?
Chattanooga, TN – Gestamp in conjunction with the Tennessee Department of Economic Development announced a $94.7 million investment in Chattanooga along with the creation of 260 new jobs.
Operations at the Hickory Valley Road and Ferdinand Piech Way plants will be expanded over the next five years.
Capacity is projected to increase at these plants due to new electric vehicle production, with the expansion being done predominately for Volkswagen.
The Gestamp plants specialize in steel stamping and welded assembly that supports Volkswagen and Mercedes Benz electric vehicle production.
“So we have had some great opportunities with our customers in the southern US region as Volkswagen is launching their electric vehicle with our new hot stamping technology we are built to be able to produce automotive components that are lighter and safer than previous versions of the components,” said John Cloutier of Gestamp.
Both plants will have retrofitting, weld assembly, and robotic updates applied during the new expansion.
This is Gestamp’s third Chattanooga expansion in 10 years; with an employee count reaching 1200 after starting with 200 initially.
“Tennessee is known as a global leader in automotive manufacturing, and it is because of companies like Gestamp that our state’s automotive industry continues to grow and excel. Gestamp’s third expansion in 10 years shows their commitment to Chattanooga and confidence in Tennessee’s skilled workforce,” said Gov. Bill Lee
TNECD Commissioner Bob Rolfe also congratulated Gestamp for the creation of 260 new jobs, while acknowledging the presence of auto suppliers in Tennessee at 900 strong.
Despite imposing pandemic restrictions that have hurt the local economy, Hamilton County Mayor Coppinger expressed his excitement for the Gestamp expansion.
“I could not be happier to learn of yet another Gestamp expansion! Gestamp is an important supplier to the southeast automotive industry and the fact they have chosen Enterprise South as their expansion focus is an important decision that has a significant impact on local families and business.”, said Mayor Coppinger.
Tennessee is showing signs of economic recovery, with a 42.2 percent increase in new entity filings for the 2020 third quarter compared against 2019.
However, unemployment numbers are up in Hamilton County.
In October, Hamilton County’s unemployment rate saw a one-point jump from 5.7 to 6.7 percent.