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Is Central Alabama equipped to become an automotive hub?

Autocar will bring about 750 jobs to the Jefferson County area.

Autocar is coming to Central Alabama, bringing about 750 jobs with it.

While this is truly cause for celebration, the big news raises questions on what it means for the Jefferson County economy if the auto industry takes on a dominant role.

Governor Kay Ivey says Alabama is a "powerhouse" in automotive manufacturing.

"Our location is key and we're a right to work state," said Jefferson Co. Manager Tony Petelos.

Peletos says those are two reasons why Alabama is drawing in companies from the automotive industry.

Autocar is investing $120 million dollars to expand and open the plant. The plant is expected to bring in $645.1 million annually, with $130.1 going back into Alabama households.

That's a lot of money pulled in by one automotive company - and it's not the only one in Central Alabama.

The question: is Central Alabama going to become an automotive hub?

"I think we're already there," said Petelos.

If we are already there, the next question: Is the Jefferson County economy diversified enough to sustain itself if the auto industry suffered a financial setback?

The short answer is yes.

"You look at UAB; UAB is the largest employer not only in Jefferson County but the state of Alabama, so we've already diversified. We've got heavy industry, we've got the medical, we've got the automobile. The one industry we don't have is high tech," said Petelos.

And that's something Petelos says the commission is looking into bringing to Jefferson County.

If you would like to apply for a position with Autocar you can find information on how to do so by clicking here.

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