Volvo Cars Selects South Carolina for First American Plant

Noria news wires

Volvo Car Corporation has selected South Carolina's Berkeley County for its first manufacturing facility in the Western hemisphere. The new $500-million plant is expected to create 2,000 new jobs over the next decade and up to 4,000 jobs by 2030. The new facility will have an initial estimated annual production capacity of around 100,000 cars.

Located in northwestern Berkeley County on a portion of the Camp Hall site, the plant will manufacture the latest-generation Volvo models for sale in the United States and for export. Construction will begin in early fall 2015, with the first vehicles expected to roll off the assembly line in 2018.

The new U.S. plant forms part of an ambitious medium-term expansion plan for Volvo to double global sales, boost market share and lift profitability. Volvo began importing cars to the U.S. in 1955. With the development of an American factory, the company crosses an important threshold from an automotive importer to a domestic manufacturer.

Volvo Cars' location decision 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.

"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, Volvo Cars of North America president and CEO. "We were impressed with the friendliness, work ethic and passion of the people in the Charleston area."

In the broader scope, Volvo Cars' selection of the Palmetto State underlines the success of South Carolina's robust automobile industry. Today, the state is home to more than 250 automotive-related companies and suppliers and, as a result, leads the nation in the export of both tires and automobiles.

With today's announcement, South Carolina's strong auto industry looks to get even stronger. 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. Operating with 2,000 employees, the plant would contribute approximately $4.8 billion in total economic output on an annual basis.

Additionally, the development of the Camp Hall site will lead to the preservation, restoration and enhancement of more than 1,500 acres of wetlands in a neighboring watershed that is a priority of Audubon South Carolina.

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