Volvo Cars has chosen Berkeley County in South Carolina as the location of its first American factory, investing up to $500 million in a facility with 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 this autumn, with the first vehicles expected to roll off the assembly line in 2018.
Once completed, Volvo Cars will be able to manufacture vehicles on three continents. It already operates two plants in Europe and two in China. The new US plant forms part of an expansion plan to double global sales, boost market share and lift profitability.
“This new global industrial footprint and a complete product renewal forms the foundation for our growth and profitability targets,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Car Corporation.
The Savannah Harbor-Interstate 16 Joint Corridor Development Authority applied last month to the Army Corps of Engineers and the state for permission to build a 1,900-acre megasite at Interstate 16 and Highway 280 in Black Creek.
Georgia lawmakers also recently approved more than $17 million to build a manufacturing training center in Pooler
Volvo began importing cars to the US in 1955. With the development of an American factory, the company crosses an important threshold from an automotive importer to a domestic manufacturer.
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.
Volvo Cars estimates that the factory will employ up to 2,000 people 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. The plant would contribute approximately $4.8 billion in total economic output on an annual basis.
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“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 Gov. Nikki Haley, “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.”