Alexander, Corker, Gordon and Blackburn Support $1.4 Billion DOE Loan to Nissan

Nissan’s New Electric Car to Bring an Estimated 1,500 Auto Jobs to Tennessee Workers

Posted on January 28, 2010

WASHINGTON –U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and U.S. Representatives Bart Gordon (D-Tenn. 6) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn. 7) today released the following statements regarding the U.S. Department of Energy’s finalization of a $1.4 billion loan agreement with Nissan North America to upgrade its Smyrna, Tennessee, factory to build advanced electric automobiles and an advanced battery manufacturing facility, bringing approximately 1,500 jobs to Tennessee.

“This is great news for Tennesseans looking for good jobs in our state’s auto industry,” Alexander said. “Building electric cars and trucks is a key step towards achieving a clean energy future for our country, and Nissan has recognized Tennessee’s strong auto workforce and our state’s capacity to be at the forefront of this electric car revolution. Thanks to the partnership between Nissan, TVA and the state of Tennessee, Tennesseans soon will be able to charge our cars overnight for a few dollars instead of emptying our pocketbooks to fill them with gasoline.”

“As I said in June when this was first announced, I believe this venture at Nissan is really the nexus of what we’ve tried to create in Tennessee: good paying jobs that move our state and country ahead and help us become more energy secure. This means 1,300 jobs for the area, it secures Tennessee’s position as a leader in America’s energy future, and it continues to tell the world that Tennessee is THE place to do business, especially automotive business,” said Corker, a member of the Senate Energy Committee. 

“This investment will be an incredible boon to thousands of families in Smyrna and across the state, and it could not come at a better time. According to Nissan’s filing, the project could ultimately create as many as 10,000 additional jobs in the construction, supply and service sectors,” said Congressman Bart Gordon, who represents Smyrna. “The jobs the Department of Energy’s loan will create are exactly the kinds of jobs that I have fought to bring to Tennessee: high-tech, high-paying and close to home. This project will cement Tennessee’s status as a leader in advanced manufacturing and green industry.”

“Tennessee is an emerging world leader in new energy and this loan will go a long way to enhancing that reputation. As with the Leaf as our reputation for innovation grows, so will the number of new jobs,” Blackburn said.

Nissan plans to use the proceeds from the loan to produce its all-electric vehicle, the LEAF, at its existing Smyrna, Tennessee, plant. Nissan will offer electric vehicles to fleet and retail customers, and plans to ramp up production capacity in Smyrna up to 150,000 vehicles annually. Nissan anticipates the project may result in an increase of up to 1,300 jobs with an estimated annual payroll of $300 million in Smyrna when full production is reached. Retooling of the existing plant and construction of the battery plant will result in about 250 jobs.