The Automotive Industry: The Road To Everywhere

While we are still deep in the drive toward technical and autonomous, what’s old is new and what’s mine is yours when it comes to next year’s auto trends.

Northeast SC: The Coast Is Clear for Automotive Expansion

As the global marketplace for motor vehicles continues to evolve, automotive companies need a location that offers operational stability and logistical advantages that translate into long-term profitability. This is especially true in a time when automotive companies are being tasked to adapt to meet new regulations and move toward an electrical future.

automotive industry
Moving product is easy in the northeastern corner of South Carolina, whether that be domestically or internationally. (Image: NESA)

As this shift takes place, automotive companies need to know that the communities in which they are located will provide them with an ongoing support system that will help them address any issues they may encounter along the way.

Already home to BMW, Honda, Volvo and Mercedes-Benz Vans, the state of South Carolina has proven it can provide all the elements needed for an automotive company to grow and find continuing success. As recently as June of this year, Volvo announced an investment of $118 million to begin production of two new all-electric vehicles. In 2019, Honda announced a $45 million expansion to its facility that produces all-terrain and side-by-side off-road vehicles, and in 2018, Mercedes-Benz Vans made an investment of $500 million for a new Sprinter full-scale production facility.

The automotive industry’s investment in South Carolina is indeed telling of the state’s pro-business climate that has been particularly conducive for automobile manufacturers and OEMs, and there is still plenty of room for growth in the state’s northeastern corner.

Located at the intersection of I-95 and I-20, the northeast South Carolina region is perfectly positioned to move product up and down the east coast and to many major markets to the west. The region is also home to the South Carolina Ports Authority’s Inland Port Dillon, an intermodal container facility that is directly connected to the deepwater Port of Charleston via a CSX owned and operated rail line, which grants the region access to international markets.

Obvious logistical advantages aside, employers in northeast South Carolina benefit from their access to a well-trained and sizeable labor pool of nearly one million within a 60-mile radius of the region’s geographic center. Just under 10 percent of the region’s labor force is employed in manufacturing operations, a rate which is higher than the national average of 8.3 percent. Union membership rates are also among the lowest in the nation at just 0.8 percent.

The region also offers some of the best workforce training resources in the country. One such resource is the state’s premiere workforce training program, ReadySC. Working together with the South Carolina Technical College System, ReadySC develops, implements and manages custom workforce training programs to support smooth, rapid start-up operations to employers that commit to creating at least 10 new jobs. The Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology (SIMT) is another resource that exists to partner with businesses to provide training and manufacturing technology solutions. The facility contains an Advanced Manufacturing Center, 3-D/Virtual reality Center, 3-D printing lab and National Robotics Center. Horry Georgetown Technical College also has two Advanced Manufacturing Centers in the region.

These great workforce training resources are just the tip of the iceberg though, as the region is also home to three 4-year universities, four technical colleges, an extensive public and private school system and the South Carolina Governor’s School of Science and Mathematics, one of the nation’s top 24 elite public high schools.

automotive industry
The northeastern corner of South Carolina takes workforce training extremely seriously. On top of all the many state programs available, the region has several state-of-the art training facilities, including the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology, two Horry-Georgetown Advanced Manufacturing Centers and the Continuum. (Photo: NESA)

The state of South Carolina also has stable and competitive property tax and state corporate income tax rates, comprehensive incentives programs and a cooperative regulatory environment that allows companies to focus on running their operations efficiently. Many of the state’s regulatory agencies have a liaison dedicated to making sure that companies receive high-level help in completing the permitting process.

This is all without mentioning the region’s excellent quality of life that includes the states only professional sporting venue—Darlington Raceway; the country’s fastest growing metro area in 2021 according to U.S. News and World Report—Myrtle Beach; and the nationally known arts competition—ArtFields.

All of these advantages make northeast South Carolina a very attractive place to do business. To learn more about northeastern South Carolina, reach out to the North Eastern Strategic Alliance (NESA), a regional non-profit economic development organization tasked with working with expanding companies to identify real estate options and to provide coordination between the many partners involved in the expansion process, such as utilities, permitting agencies, workforce training providers and others.

Visit, or contact Director of Business Development Jeffrey DeLung via email at