Business | Nashville Public Radio



Nissan's U.S. workforce now stands at 22,000, up from just 13,000 prior to a post-recession rebound. The company's Smyrna facility, with its 8,400 workers, produced more cars than any other American plant in 2014. But the company's growth, for the most part, has been through the increasingly common and controversial use of temporary workers.


After steady gains and a record year in 2014, sales of the Nissan Leaf dropped nearly 15 percent in January.

Karl Brauer, senior analyst with Kelly Blue Book, says the Smyrna-made Leaf had two factors working against it last month: one it’s electric, two it’s a car.  

Emil Moffatt / WPLN

The Nashville Predators are poised to do something that would have seemed unthinkable a decade ago, when attendance hit an all-time low.  In a letter to season ticket holders, the Predators say they may stop selling individual tickets to certain games. The team is also willing to pay a premium to buy back tickets. 

Automotive Rhythms via Flickr

Nashville has had more job growth in advanced industries since the recession than any other metro area in the country, according to a new study from the Brookings Institute, and it's largely thanks to motor vehicle manufacturers.

Rex Hammock via Flickr

Nashville will soon have a curfew for construction noise – at least the loudest kind. The city’s codes department has been authorized to create new rules, which would include a ban on blasting and jackhammering overnight.

Chas Sisk / WPLN

A federal lawsuit alleges guards at a privately-run prison in Tennessee strip-searched a visitor simply because she told them she was menstruating.

According to a complaint filed Thursday in U.S. District Court, an unidentified woman claims Nashville-based Corrections Corp. of America violated her constitutional rights when it required her to disrobe to prove she was having her period. 


Scientists from Oak Ridge National Lab are at the Detroit Auto Show this week showing off a sleek Shelby Cobra that they built with a 3-D printer.

Lonnie Love, who leads ORNL’s manufacturing systems research group, says he doesn’t expect cars to be mass produced this way in his lifetime. But it might be how car companies start building models, which is currently done with clay.

“You can go out and print a working prototype in weeks, in days,” Love says in a promotional video.


Franklin-based Nissan North America is teaming up with NASA to develop an autonomous vehicle.

In a joint announcement, Nissan and NASA officials say they will have prototypes ready to test by the end of the year. The work will be done at Nissan’s Silicon Valley research center and NASA’s Ames research center in California. The vehicles will be all-electric, driver-less, and able to carry payloads or people.

Nissan aims to have an autonomous vehicle for sale by 2020.

Stephen Jerkins

The Tennessee county with the lowest unemployment rate in the state has seen its fortunes change. One of Lincoln County’s largest employers is leaving. Goodman manufacturing is consolidating its operations to Texas.

By 2017, Goodman will be gone, and some 1,700 people will be jobless in Lincoln County, on the Alabama border. The decision also will result in closing a smaller Goodman plant in Dayton, Tenn.

WPLN featured the Lincoln County plant in a story last year about the area’s surprisingly low unemployment rate, which has dipped below 5 percent in the past year. Goodman, which makes air conditioning units, is the major employer in town and has been for decades. Multiple generations work there.

Jumpstart Foundry

For the past five years, Tennessee entrepreneurs who wanted to launch a new business idea might have tried to catch the eye of Jumpstart Foundry.

Jumpstart is what’s called an accelerator in the tech world. It’s a company that helps other companies grow — playing the roles of mentor, shareholder and money matchmaker. Since its inception, it’s put about 40 fledgling tech companies through a sort of how-to-run-a-business boot camp, setting them up with seasoned advisors and showing them off to potential investors. And it’s been successful. Last year, an MIT business professor ranked Jumpstart the 14th best accelerator in the country.