Volvo selects South Carolina for new $500-million auto plant

Volvo plans new $500-million auto plant in South Carolina, expects to produce 100,000 vehicles annually

Volvo Cars will build a $500-million plant in South Carolina that will eventually employ up to 4,000 people, the company announced Monday.

The company said its first American plant, to be located about 30 miles from the Port of Charleston, is expected to make about 100,000 vehicles a year initially.

The company said it expects to employ about 2,000 people at the Berkeley County plant over the next decade. That could grow to 4,000 workers, it said. South Carolina's technical college system will work to recruit and train employees for the plant, officials said.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley planned a news conference later Monday morning to formally announce Volvo's decision.

"We are proud to have this global leader in car manufacturing join and strengthen South Carolina's automotive industry," Haley said in a statement released by the automaker.

South Carolina and Georgia had been the two finalists for the plant, and Georgia officials said last week that Volvo had decided against building near Savannah.

Construction is expected to begin in the fall. The first vehicles are expected to be ready in 2018.

The company said vehicles made at the plant will be for the U.S. market, as well as for export. Volvo has two plants in Europe and two in China.

"This new global industrial footprint and a complete product renewal forms the foundation for our growth and profitability targets," Hakan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Car Corp., said in a statement.

Volvo becomes the second European carmaker to locate in South Carolina. BMW built its first plant in Greer in 1994.

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