By The BF Staff
From the January/February 2016 Issue
PROJECT TITLE: VOLVO’S FIRST ASSEMBLY PLANT IN NORTH AMERICA
ENTERED BY: SOUTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
Volvo Car Corporation’s selection of Berkeley County, SC for its first North American manufacturing facility has earned the South Carolina Department of Commerce the Silver Award in BF’s 2015 Economic Development Deal of the Year competition.
The new $500-million assembly 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 new Volvo S60 sedan and other models for sale in the U.S. and for export. Construction began last fall and the first vehicles are expected to roll off the assembly line in 2018.
Volvo’s SC plant is expected to create more than 8,000 direct and indirect jobs and generate an annual economic impact estimated at $4.8 billion to the region. “Volvo’s presence and commitment to Berkeley County and the state 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,” Gov. Nikki Haley said, in a press release announcing the deal.
Once completed, Volvo Cars will be able to manufacture vehicles on three continents (the Swedish automaker already operates two plants in Europe and two in China). Additionally, the new U.S. plant forms part of an ambitious medium-term expansion plan to double global sales, boost market share and lift profitability. Volvo began importing cars to the U.S. in 1955.
ACCESS TO PORTS A KEY FACTOR
Key factors in Volvo’s site selection decision included easy access to international ports and infrastructure, a well-trained labor force, an attractive investment environment and SC’s experience in the high-tech manufacturing sector. The Palmetto State is the long-time home of BMW’s primary U.S. manufacturing facility; Boeing assembles aircraft at a plant in N. Charleston, SC.
South Carolina ‘s burgeoning automotive sector now includes more than 250 automotive-related companies and suppliers; the state leads the nation in the export of both tires and automobiles.
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 critical, neighboring watershed that is a priority of Audubon South Carolina.
PROJECT IMPACT ESTIMATES
The deal bringing Volvo to SC was the result of an unprecedented partnership of local and state officials, the South Carolina Power Team and Edisto and Berkeley electric cooperatives.
South Carolina Power Team, its partners Santee Cooper, Central Electric Power Cooperative, and South Carolina’s 20 electric cooperatives achieved record metrics for 2015 as a power system, resulting in $1.7-billion in capital investment for 37 projects creating 5,259 new jobs (the total includes the Volvo Cars project). SC Power Team’s new electric rate structure and incentive resources were cited as contributing factors that sealed the deal with Volvo.