Thursday, November 20, 2008

The auto world may shift into the South and away from Detroit

Southern politicians have spent years luring foreign automakers to build cars in their states, with huge success. Most recently, Tennessee attracted a $1 billion Volkswagen assembly plant to Chattanooga. South Carolina has BMW. Mississippi landed a major plant for Toyota Motor Corp. Alabama boasts plants run by Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co.

It's not that Southerners are secretly wishing for the Big Three to collapse. But if those automakers were to falter, the new players are poised to ramp up production and possibly turn the South into the next Detroit.

"In the long run, having fewer competitors or weaker competitors is generally a good thing," said Efraim Levy, a senior auto industry analyst with Standard & Poor's. "It would contribute to a greater relative strength in the South."

Read the entire story in the Tennessean newspaper.

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