State officials staying silent on possible Volvo plant in NC

Posted January 22, 2015
Updated January 23, 2015

Gov. Pat McCrory stands next to Christopher Chung, the new head of the N.C. Economic Development Partnership, on Jan. 22, 2015.

— State leaders are keeping mum about international reports that Volvo is hunting for a new manufacturing site in a handful of southern states, including North Carolina

According to the Financial Times, the luxury car brand is looking to join a number of other companies with factories in the Southeast, including BMW in South Carolina and Mercedes in Alabama. Just this month, Mercedes announced it would move its headquarters from New Jersey to Georgia, passing up locations in North Carolina.

Citing two anonymous sources, the report said Volvo had been "in talks with several US state legislatures" in North Carolina, South Carolina and Kentucky about potential incentives for the move, part of an effort to boost sales in the U.S.

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Volvo Cars had no comment on the report when reached Friday, and a spokeswoman with state Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said she hasn't heard anything about the talks. State House Speaker Tim Moore said he had has not heard from the company, and it would be unusual for lawmakers to be involved at this stage in the process.

At a press conference Thursday to debut the headquarters of the state's new public-private Economic Development Partnership, Commerce Department spokeswoman Kim Genardo had no comment on the Volvo project.

"North Carolina is always looking to recruit new companies," Genardo said.

Speaking to reporters at the event, Gov. Pat McCrory declined to comment about any potential talks with Volvo or on the details of his economic development trip last week to the U.K. McCrory said he was there with new Commerce Secretary John Skvarla "working to recruit jobs."

"We were overseas in Europe in a continued effort to make contacts with companies that would be interested in North Carolina," he said.

He added, however, that the state would be a suitable place for an auto manufacturer.

"We've always been interested in auto," McCrory said. "There's no doubt about it."

Before cutting the ribbon on the partnership's new office space in Cary, McCrory hinted at a new "NC Competes" plan he would present to the state legislature in the coming weeks that would encourage large-scale manufacturing, attract new investment and fund long-term infrastructure projects.

"If I'm going to compete successfully – if we're going to compete successfully – we need to have a firm strategy in place that we can communicate," McCrory said.

He declined to give further details of the plan.

Lawmakers may take up the issue of incentives when they return to Raleigh for the 2015 long session at the end of the month. But despite repeated pleas from McCrory to extend one of the state's largest such programs set to expire this year, state leaders don't appear to be in any hurry.

State Rep. Julia Howard, R-Davie, told WRAL News earlier this month that priorities such as Medicaid and education will likely take precedence.

But McCrory said Thursday he's had "extremely productive conversations" with legislative leaders about the need for more economic programs – and how soon they need to go into effect.

"I think the leadership shares that sense urgency, but it's also important for me to have a clear plan to place in front of the legislature," he said.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story reported the press conference and calls to the company took place Wednesday. Both took place Thursday.


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  • Bill Brasky Jan 25, 2015

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    Those raises should of started 4 years ago. Teachers received raises nearly every year under Democrats until the economy tanked due to an unregulated US stock market....thanks Republicans. Judging by legislation passing after Republicans gained power, they care very little for public schools, since we went from 26th to 48th in the nation in teacher pay. Republicans only did the raise to avoid a shellacking at the polls. They would rather use tax payer money to fund their own private schools.

    They realize an educated general population could spell bad news for their party.

  • 68_dodge_polara Jan 25, 2015

    But all that is just a distraction and has nothing to do with taking money more from tax payers so that others don't have to pay taxes. It's wrong.

  • 68_dodge_polara Jan 25, 2015

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    Are you saying that teachers did not receive a raise under Pat MCCrory? That is a lie.

  • Bill Brasky Jan 24, 2015

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    That's not true. The last time teachers received a pay raise was 2008-2009 school year. During that time NC was 26th in the nation in teacher Pay. Than in 2010 Republicans were elected. If you review past links you will see Bev Perdue pushed for teacher raises during 2010 and 2011. Than with Pat MCCrory in control from 2012-2014 State Republicans still failed to give teacher raises. So between 2010-2014 teachers Did not receive raises and our 26th in the nation in teacher pay dropped to 48th. All of this is easily verifiable.

  • Charlie Watkins Jan 24, 2015
    user avatar

    Volvo would be a great addition to the Global Transpark. As I recall the total incentive package to lure Spirit Aero was somewhere in the range of $240 million to create 1,000 jobs. I am not sure how many jobs have been created but I think Volvo might create even more.

    Bring Volvo to the Global Transpark!

  • 68_dodge_polara Jan 24, 2015

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    Still overall it was much more money than teachers got under Democrats. Also getting rid of tenure means they can now get rid of the bad teachers is that really a bad thing?

  • heelhawk Jan 23, 2015

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    I guess that depends on whether you're one of the first year teachers that actually got a raise, or one of the seasoned teachers who had their longevity pay eliminated as well as any differential pay for having an advanced degree, then some of that money given back as a "raise" working out to a net loss. If you fall into the latter category, I'd call it a slap in the face. What was Palin known for saying??? You can put lipstick on a pig......

  • 68_dodge_polara Jan 23, 2015

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    I meat do you even realize teachers have have the best raises in years where under the Democrats they got nothing. Yea that's right nothing...

  • 68_dodge_polara Jan 23, 2015

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    Do you really believe in what you write? Well I apparently hit the nail on the head of of someone being a partisan no?

  • flyfish42 Jan 23, 2015

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    You hit that nail on the head, HEELHAWK. Unfortunately, many politicians overlook how those things play into the decision of where a company locates, and this is especially true of European companies who are a lot more environmentally and civically responsible than most American companies.