Volvo reportedly down to two states for U.S. factory

Volvo Cars is down to South Carolina and another unnamed state for its planned $500 million factory, Reuters reported Friday citing unnamed individuals.

Getty Images

Getty Images

The second state, people with knowledge of the situation have told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, is Georgia. The two states, they have said, have been the top contenders for weeks.

Auto factories are among the most coveted economic development projects for states because of the jobs they create and the potential for thousands more at suppliers — as witnessed by growth around Kia Motors’ plant in West Point, Ga., which opened in 2009.

As such, they generally fetch lucrative incentive packages often involving land, infrastructure, tax credits and grants. And companies tend to pit states against one another in high-stakes bidding wars.

A spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Economic Development said her agency had no comment. A message left for a Volvo spokesman was not immediately returned, though a spokesman told Reuters a decision was expected “in the next few weeks.”

Volvo representatives were said to be part of Georgia’s annual Red Carpet Tour, an economic development road show that involves the Masters golf tournament.

The AJC first reported in early March that Georgia was on Volvo’s shortlist, and that at the time Georgia was also pursuing a Jaguar Land Rover plant. But the Jaguar Land Rover factory appears to be off the table, at least for now.

Volvo is based in Sweden but was acquired by Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding of China in 2010. It previously was owned by Ford.

Reuters reported that South Carolina officials have filed for a permit for an unnamed company to build a factory in Berkeley County, north of the city of Charleston, for a project that would eventually employ up to 4,000 within 10 years.

Volvo is said to be examining numerous Georgia sites. Its search initially included land along the coast near the Savannah and Brunswick ports and at least one site in the outskirts of metro Atlanta, but coastal Georgia appears to be the singular focus.

Georgia lawmakers struck a deal on the budget recently that includes funding for a manufacturing training center near Savannah. That center could be used to train auto workers.

The location decision will likely involve an analysis of which state offers better access for parts and equipment. Georgia’s Brunswick port is a auto import hub.

Modern auto plants tend to be in exurban areas because land is inexpensive, but they will be close enough to population centers to attract a talented workforce, New Jersey-based site consultant John Boyd told the AJC last month. Kia has been successful at its sprawling west Georgia factory, and I-16 between Savannah and Macon has developed into an industrial corridor, said Boyd, who is not involved in the Volvo project.

The midyear state budget approved by Gov. Nathan Deal included $40 million for the state’s “deal-closing funds,” nearly double the previous year’s spending plan.

Deal has also aggressively pushed legislation that would allow state agencies to buy vehicles made in Georgia without going through the competitive bid process. It’s seen not only as a boon to Kia, but also any other carmaker considering Georgia.

Separately, the governor has pushed a plan to limit the independence of the little-known state Soil and Water Conservation Commission. It comes as the commission rewrites regulations to keep runoff from construction and manufacturing sites from polluting streams and rivers. Deal said “contradictory” environmental guidelines could lead to litigation and threaten major deals.

Reader Comments 0

13 comments
Boscaverde
Boscaverde

Well, we know no breweries will bring their jobs here thanks to the antiquated bible-belt laws and the money that the wholesalers are putting into our legislators' pockets.  Maybe the state can give enough money to another auto manufacturer to get them to come here.

taters
taters

You notice that NW Georgia has failed to pick up any of the growth from the VW plant in Chattanooga.  Rumor is that the Dalton folks don't want any business up there except carpet mills.  So the unemployment rate in Dalton is still one of the worst in the state.  You can't fix stupid.

styymy
styymy

As long as they pick a site that's nowhere near metro-Atlanta. The metro can't even handle the rush hour traffic it already has. There's no need to pile on more cars to the horrible commutes that already exist. 

styymy
styymy

@ATLchamp Special Interest  continues to manipulate and stifle progress.

Retired2x
Retired2x

We can only hope that Volvo picks a state where employees have the right to work without being forced to pay union dues.

MichaelHannigan
MichaelHannigan

@AlbertMaguffin 

I assume that by your insipid remark that you condone Unions collecting dues from members and spending a lot of it on politics, e.g., the Demokratic Party.  Is it fair to pay dues to a union that uses some of your money to support a political party which does not espouse the same ideals that you do?


By the way, in a "Right-to-Work" state (GA, SC and a lot of others now), one does not have to join a union, but may enjoy the benefits, however.  That being the case, why would any sane person join a union?

satan
satan

@MichaelHannigan @AlbertMaguffin 

Hannigan, you are indeed a clown. Of course unions donate to politicians..guess who else donates insanely large amounts of money to politicians?? The Koch brothers and every other wack job conservative.  At least unions usually get better pay and benefits for their dollar!  What do Koch brothers get their sheep????