South Carolina Draws International Companies
Attracted by the state’s pro-business mindset, the world’s businesses are investing in South Carolina, creating new opportunities for a workforce that is ready, willing and able to help them succeed.
International companies such as BMW Manufacturing, adidas and Michelin, to name just a few, employ 107,000 people and have invested more than $37.3 billion in South Carolina since 1960, when the state began tracking that information.
Those numbers keep getting bigger.
ZF Group Grows in South Carolina
When Germany’s ZF Group was looking for a place to build high-tech automatic transmissions, it selected Laurens County, where its $350 million plant is expected to employ 900 workers by 2015. The company also has a facility in Duncan, which supplies parts for BMW vehicles built in Spartanburg. The company’s customers include luxury automakers Rolls Royce and Bentley Motors. The new facility will also be a supplier for Chrysler.
South Carolina provides an environment where global companies can grow, with workforce training programs at universities and technical schools, a well-developed transportation network that includes convenient interstate and rail access and the Port of Charleston, pro-business policies, and the presence of numerous successful international companies, says Bryan Johnson, manager of marketing and communications for ZF Group North American Operations.
“There are synergies” in South Carolina, says Johnson. “With companies like BMW and Michelin creating a hub of industry and technology to work from, that was extremely beneficial for us.”
Examples of the vibrant and growing international business presence include:
German sports apparel and footwear giant adidas Group, which invested $150 million in its 1.9-million-square-foot distribution center in Spartanburg County. It is the company’s largest in the United States, and employs more than 1,500 people who fulfill orders for adidas and Reebok brand apparel, footwear, equipment and accessories.
German-based auto supplier Robert Bosch LLC, which is investing $125 million to expand its operations in Dorchester County, creating approximately 300 new jobs.
Michelin and South Carolina Forge Strong Ties
Michelin, the French tire maker that employs more than 8,000 workers at seven facilities in South Carolina, is also growing. The company, which has invested more than $4.5 billion in South Carolina, is investing another $200 million and creating 270 jobs at its passenger tire plant in Lexington County, says Steve Evered, vice president of government affairs.
Many factors make South Carolina an attractive place for Michelin to do business, including the Port of Charleston, the state’s technical colleges, and automotive engineering collaboration at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research, Evered says.
"But we believe the most compelling attribute is the quality of the highly skilled workforce available in the state. All of these have contributed to Michelin's decision, over the last nearly 40 years, to locate its North American headquarters and invest more than $4.5 billion in this state. Our South Carolina supplier base provides more than $500 million in goods and services to our South Carolina operations every year. These factors make this state a world-class place to invest,” says Evered.
South Carolina Exports to the World
Another world brand, BMW Manufacturing, has invested nearly $5 billion in its South Carolina operations and is still expanding. The company, which produces the X3 and X5 Sports Activity Vehicles and the X6 Sports Activity coupe, is investing another $100 million in its upstate assembly plant. That follows a $750 million expansion that opened in 2010, adding 1.5 million square feet to the company’s 2.5-million-square-foot campus and enabling BMW to increase production capacity to 240,000 vehicles by 2012. The company employs more than 7,000 workers.
The Spartanburg facility exports vehicles to more than 130 markets around the globe, mostly through the Port of Charleston. Vehicles exported in 2010 were valued at more than $4.4 billion.
“BMW vehicles manufactured in South Carolina were a major contributor to the company’s success in 2010,” says Josef Kerscher, president of BMW Manufacturing. “Consistently strong, global demand for the X5 and X6 and now the all-new X3, to global markets, has led to a net increase in our export volume through the port.”