Volvo picks S.C. for new plant
ROCKLEIGH, N.J. (May 11, 2015) — Volvo Cars of North America L.L.C. (VCNA) has chosen Berkeley County, S.C., as the location of its first American factory that will supply vehicles to the U.S. market
The auto maker said it plans to invest up to $500 million in the facility, which will have a capacity to initially produce up to 100,000 cars per year.
The Berkeley County factory, located outside of Charleston, will make latest generation Volvo models for sale in the U.S. and for export. Construction will begin in early autumn of this year, with the first vehicles expected to roll off the assembly line in 2018.
Once the plant is completed, VCNA said it will be able to manufacture vehicles on three continents, “underscoring its position as a truly global car maker.”
The company operates two plants in Europe and two in China. The new U.S. plant will form part of an ambitious medium term expansion plan to double global sales, boost market share and lift profitability, Volvo said.
“This new global industrial footprint and a complete product renewal forms the foundation for our growth and profitability targets,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and CEO of Volvo Car Corp.
Volvo began importing cars to the U.S. in 1955. With the development of an American factory, the company said in a press release that it “crosses an important threshold from an automotive importer to a domestic manufacturer.”
“We're excited to build our first American factory in South Carolina and we look forward to helping grow the local community and economy.” said Lex Kerssemakers, president and CEO of VCNA. “We were impressed with the friendliness, work ethic and passion of the people in the Charleston area.”
The decision to choose Berkeley County was taken as a result of its easy access to international ports and infrastructure, a well-trained labor force, attractive investment environment and experience in the high tech manufacturing sector, the company said.
VCNA estimates the factory will have a work force of up to 2,000 over the next decade and up to 4,000 people in the longer term. An economic impact analysis compiled by Dr. Frank Hefner at the College of Charleston estimates that, for an initial 2,000 direct jobs, more than 8,000 total jobs would be created as a result, according to Volvo. The plant would contribute approximately $4.8 billion in total economic output on an annual basis.
“This is a landmark moment and truly a great day in South Carolina as we welcome Volvo Cars' first American manufacturing plant to our state,” said South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley in a statement. “Volvo's presence and commitment to the community will be felt for decades to come.
“We are proud to have this global leader in car manufacturing join and strengthen South Carolina's automotive industry.”
Volvo said readySC, a division of the S.C. Technical College System, is assisting with recruitment and training for positions at the new factory. It plans to post all information on hiring, as available, at the readySC portal. Potential suppliers or vendors interested in doing business with the company were encouraged to contact the South Carolina Department of Commerce's Buy South Carolina program by emailing [email protected].
Volvo Cars is a subsidiary of Volvo Car Group of Gothenburg, Sweden. VCNA provides marketing, sales, parts, service, technology and training support to Volvo automobile retailers in the U.S.
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