Monday, March 13, 2006

Autos Impact on SC

“We didn’t produce our first car until 1994, but we’ve now got 44,000 jobs in the auto industry,” Tim Dangerfield, Chief of Staff for the SC Department of Commerce, was telling me at dinner at the SC Rural Summit. “We just produced our 1 millionth auto earlier this month.”

When BMW decided to build their U. S. plant and headquarters in Spartanburg, SC there were some who were skeptical of the incentive package that lured them to a state without much of an auto culture. It was a long way from Detroit.
Maceo Nance, who heads up Community & Rural Development for SC Commerce added, “Originally, BMW planned to invest $300 million in the plant and have 2,000 employees. Since then they’ve invested $2.37 billion and grown it to 4,500 employees!”

Most important for the agurbs, is the number of auto suppliers that have been lured to the state by BMW. Tim told me, “The latest count is 44 companies and growing.” Most of those are in smaller communities and having a wonderful impact upon the economies of those towns.

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