German auto parts maker Weber Automotive announced that it will set up a new manufacturing plant in Charleston County, South Carolina.
The project will require an investment of $51 million from Weber, and will result in the creation of 84 new jobs over the next four years.
The new plant, which will be manufacturing drive train components, will be located in the Palmetto Commerce Park in North Charleston. The Weber facility will be operational by 2015.
Weber Automotive CFO Daniel Weber, who is also the company‚Äôs chief officer of sales, said they were thrilled at setting up the North Charleston operations. He said South Carolina offered them a talented workforce and excellent business environment in a region that was growing as a hub for the automotive industry.
The South Carolina Coordinating Council for Economic Development helped by approving a $200,000 grant meant for road improvements.
Stated advantages aside, the project was never in any serious danger of leaving the Charleston‚ÄìNorth Charleston‚ÄìSummerville metropolitan area. Weber has long roots in this region, including an existing plant in Summerville which manufactures crankshafts.
Weber USA, the automotive company‚Äôs real estate holding company, owns the 1,800-acre Ingleside Plantation in North Charleston. A massive development plan including a huge retail center, industrial space and thousands of residential apartment units to be built on a part of the plantation was approved for TIF financing by Charleston County in Jan 2012.
Teddie Pryor, chairman of Charleston County Council, said they helped build the business case for this new expansion to add an auto plant. He promised their support for Weber Automotive will continue long after the plant‚Äôs ribbon cutting.
North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey said the announcement gave them confidence that the City and the Greater Charleston area continue to offer an environment that is ripe for businesses to flourish.
Charleston Regional Development Alliance Chairman Bob Whitten said their three counties offered a combination of incredible assets for global manufacturers. He specifically mentioned the skilled workforce, an integrated transportation infrastructure, and an established automotive cluster.
Whitten added that by deciding to locate in the area, Weber is sending a powerful message to automotive companies across the globe that reinforces how competitive the Charleston area has become.