All eyes in the automotive world were on Pulaski, Tenn., population 7,845, on a very special Father’s Day, Sunday, June 16, 2013. Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat S.p.A and Chairman and CEO of Chrysler Group LLC joined Gov. Bill Haslam, TNECD Commissioner Bill Hagerty and other federal, state, local and company officials to open Magneti Marelli’s first Automotive Lighting plant in the United States in the rural Middle Tennessee town.
The new lighting unit represents an investment of $54 million and the creation of up to 850 new jobs over the next four years and further strengthens Magneti Marelli’s presence in the Volunteer State. The company also has a Shock Absorbers division next door in Pulaski that designs and manufactures automotive suspension modules and components.
“Today is particularly significant because it marks the successful completion of an ambitious project, as well as a new beginning and a new life for this plant,” said Mr. Marchionne during the grand opening celebration. “What has been achieved here demonstrates the strong commitment and sense of purpose of everyone involved to create value for the future, and to generate growth and prosperity for this area.”
Gov. Haslam told the crowd the new Magneti Marelli lighting division shows just how much Tennessee can compete, and win, internationally when it comes to manufacturing. Tennessee is proving time and again that its business friendly climate, central location, quality workforce, and low business costs provide an ideal setting for companies from around the world.
“We had the highest growth of any Southern state last year and the third highest in the country for manufacturing jobs,” Gov. Haslam touted.
Mr. Marchionne called the new Pulaski lighting plant a cutting edge industrial facility with the best technology in world. The plant has a production capacity of 2.5 million lighting units a year that will gradually increase to 5 million in 2016. The site already has orders from Chrysler Group, Mercedes and GM with the first headlights being produced for the all-new 2014 Jeep Cherokee.
“The inauguration of the new plant in Pulaski shows the intention of Magneti Marelli to respond quickly to the growth of this market, while at the same time guaranteeing quality, a technological level of excellence and the satisfaction of our key customers, in a context that is rich in opportunity yet at the same time highly challenging”, said, Magneti Marelli CEO Eugenio Razelli. “The expansion of our footprint in the NAFTA region further equips us to respond appropriately and adequately to these challenges in an area that is vital for the growth of Lighting and Magneti Marelli as a whole.”