Chattanooga lands major auto conference

photo In this March 22, 2012, file photo, workers assemble a Passat sedan at Volkswagen AG's plant in Chattanooga, Tenn.

BY THE NUMBERS

34 -- Percent of manufacturing jobs in Tennessee connected to auto production864 -- Suppliers, original equipment and ancillary manufacturers tied to auto production in the state105,000 -- Auto production-related employment in the stateSource: Busin

For the first time, Chattanooga has landed a major regional automotive conference -- an indicator the area is emerging into a player in the growing sector, officials say.

"Chattanooga has become a real center for the auto sector," said Joe Conner, a board member for the Tennessee Automotive Manufacturers Association and a local attorney.

The city has captured the Southern Automotive Conference, which is to bring more than 400 people here Oct.