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Chattanooga: Recruiting the World, Literally

Holly Ashley

The world’s largest automotive supplier wants to expand its global operations and add a few bucks to its $7.2 billion in annual sales. Yes, that’s billion with a ‘B’. The supplier is Chinese-owned Yanfeng Automotive Interiors and they can locate anywhere in the world. But where does their finger land when they spin the globe? Chattanooga, Tennessee.

So, okay. Yanfeng is far too sophisticated to make major operational decisions using a random-globe-spinning-decision-matrix-thingamawoo. They are kind of successful, after all. How successful? Headquartered in Shanghai, they have 90 manufacturing and technical centers across 17 countries with 28,000 employees. Global sales are expected to reach $10 billion in the next few years. No globe spinning there.

Yanfeng chose Chattanooga because it’s the center of the automotive south; a designation earned thanks to a business-friendly environment, 5-star logistics and low-cost utilities that landed Volkswagen in 2008. Yanfeng is one of the largest Volkswagen suppliers to locate in Chattanooga, supplying all floor consoles, instrument panels and trunk trim for Volkswagen’s future models. 

But wait, there’s more. Chattanooga is located within 300 miles of 15 Southern OEMs, which stands for original equipment manufacturer in case you’re taking notes. The city was also rated a 5-Star logistics location by Chief Logistics Officer magazine thanks to excellent infrastructure to support every mode of shipping. That kind of connectivity comes in handy for regional OEMs like Volkswagen, Nissan, Toyota, GM, Honda, Kia, Mercedes-Benz and BMW….and totally validates that whole “center of the automotive south” thing. And you thought we made that up.

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