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Greater Memphis Chamber proud to play critical role in largest investment in Tennessee history

Ford, SK Innovation to make single largest investment in Tennessee history with new electric vehicle and battery plant at the Memphis Regional Megasite, 63 years after Ford leaves Memphis market

Memphis, Tenn. (Sept. 27, 2021) – The Greater Memphis Chamber and their local and state economic development partners on Monday welcomed Ford Motor Company as it announced plans to build an electric vehicle and battery manufacturing plant at the Memphis Regional Megasite.

Ford and its partner, SK Innovation, are expected to begin construction in January and open the plant by 2024, bringing 6,000 new jobs and a $5.6 billion investment to West Tennessee. Ford’s investment marks the single largest investment in Tennessee’s history and puts Greater Memphis and West Tennessee at the forefront of the latest developments in electric vehicle innovation.

The construction of the new plant isn’t the first time Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford has established a presence in West Tennessee. The company opened a Model T assembly plant in Memphis in 1913, relocated to a new facility in South Memphis in 1924, and then relocated to Ohio in 1958.

“I am elated about this monumental investment in West Tennessee,” said Beverly Robertson, president and CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber. “Memphis and Ford have a history together. Back in 1913, Ford produced wooden wheels and body foundations for Model T Fords in Memphis. Now — 108 years later — they’re returning to transform the Memphis market and make eco-friendly, carbon-neutral manufacturing the gold standard of the automotive industry.”

“This project will be world-changing for people in Memphis and West Tennessee,” said Ted Townsend, chief economic development officer of the Greater Memphis Chamber. “But it’s also deeply personal for me. Back in 1958, Ford relocated its South Memphis plant to Ohio and my grandfather was unable to relocate. Now, 63 years later, I get to be on the team that brought Ford back. It makes this win that much sweeter.”

“That a company of Ford’s caliber chose Memphis over every other site in the country tells you a lot about this city and its potential,” said Willie Gregory, chairman of the Greater Memphis Chamber Board of Directors. “Greater Memphis is a centrally located region of innovators and go-getters with a diverse workforce that’s ready to work. Ford sees it, and companies around the world are paying attention.”

“We are pleased Ford plans to bring EV manufacturing and high-wage, technical jobs to West Tennessee at the Memphis Regional Megasite,” said Richard W. Smith, regional president of the Americas and executive vice president of global support at FedEx Express. “Earlier this year we announced the phased transition of the entire FedEx pickup and delivery fleet to electric vehicles in support of our goal to reach carbon neutral operations by 2040. Having Ford located in West Tennessee positions the region’s economy and environment to benefit from the most important transportation industry shift in decades.”

The Greater Memphis Chamber played a key role on the team that landed the project, codenamed Project Aurora, showcasing the importance of the Chamber’s data-driven approach to growth. Ford’s announcement dovetails with the launch this Thursday of the Chamber’s new Center for Economic Competitiveness. The center’s directive is to let data drive strategic initiatives aimed at making the region more competitive for projects, like Ford’s, to expand prosperity to all parts of Greater Memphis. For more details, watch the virtual launch of the center at 3 p.m. Thursday (register here).

Memphis and Ford are known for moving the world. And now, once again, they get to move the world together, toward a better future.

About the Greater Memphis Chamber: The Greater Memphis Chamber is a private, member-driven nonprofit that acts as the lead economic development organization for Memphis and Shelby County, Tennessee. As the “Voice of Business,” the Chamber works to attract and retain jobs and investment, advocates for policies creating prosperity for all, and provides resources, information and programming to help its members thrive. Founded in 1838, the Chamber is one of Memphis’ oldest institutions with roughly 1,500 members today, including many of the region’s largest employers.

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