Small Tennessee Town Writes Million Dollar Check For New Auto Jobs

Magneti Marelli has 90 employees in Pulaski, Tenn. But expansion plans call for 850 workers within four years. Credit: Blake Farmer/WPLN

Magneti Marelli has 90 employees in Pulaski, Tenn. But expansion plans call for 850 workers within four years. Credit: Blake Farmer/WPLN

An Italian-owned auto supplier is making big plans for Pulaski, Tenn. On Monday the company begins producing headlamps in the U.S. for the first time, but the new jobs come at a cost.

Magneti Marelli – which is a subsidiary of Fiat – already has 90 workers at a small operation in Pulaski. The town with a population of fewer than 8,000 had to stretch to win the expansion, cutting the company a $1 million check.

“To give up a million dollars out of your budget when you’re struggling – you’re talking about how do you cut this and how do you cut that? That’s a sacrifice for this community,” says Mayor Pat Ford.

The state also chipped in $2 million cash and is offering even more to train new workers.

“Everybody wants a job here, and I was the lucky one to get picked,” says Tina Jones, who started in April. She says previously she has taken manufacturing jobs that forced her to drive to Huntsville, Ala.

The first head lamps made in Pulaski are for the Jeep Grand Cherokee, which is made by Magneti Marelli's sister company. Both are owned by Fiat. Credit: Blake Farmer/WPLN

The first head lamps made in Pulaski are for the Jeep Grand Cherokee, which is made by Magneti Marelli’s sister company. Both are owned by Fiat. Credit: Blake Farmer/WPLN

Elected officials say they expect the investment to pay off for Giles County, where unemployment is hovering near 10 percent.

Magneti Marelli says it anticipates employing 850 people in the next few years. Company executives say they like the proximity to plants owned by GM, Nissan and Mercedes. The first headlights off the manufacturing line will be shipped to Ohio and installed on the new Jeep Grand Cherokee.

 

 

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