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N.C.'s Advanced Vehicle Research Center Lands Lotus Engineering R&D Facility

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Lotus Engineering

will build a research and design facility and create 108 jobs in Northampton County, N.C. Governor Mike Easley announced Friday.

The Lotus Engineering facility will be part of the state's

Advanced Vehicle Research Center (AVRC)

, which is being built near Garysburg.

Ground was broken for the state-backed research center on April 28

Lotus Engineering, which is based in the United Kingdom, is assisting in the design of a track that will be part of the AVRC. The company will receive tax benefits through a state Job Development Investment Grant that could be worth as much as $1.49 million. Its U.S. headquarters is located in Ann Arbor, Mi.

"Today's announcement brings a top-notch research and development facility to Northampton County and provides 108 well-paying jobs to area residents," Easley said in a statement.

Lotus Engineering works with many of the world's top car manufacturers, providing a variety of services. The new center is expected to open later this year.

The new jobs will average $48,000 plus benefits, according to Easley's office.

"As a leader in advanced vehicle design and development, Lotus Engineering has the unique ability to support the ever-growing automotive industry of the southern United States, while also providing year-round vehicle testing support to the northern automotive industry," said Don Graunstadt, chief executive officer of Lotus Engineering. "Lotus Engineering's ability to use experience and knowledge to shape inspirational conceptual ideas into reality is a key skill. The opportunity afforded by North Carolina will accelerate our capabilities and growth."

The center has received $7.5 million in state funding as well as financial support from the Golden Leaf Foundation and Northampton County. Lotus Engineering is contributing engineering services valued at $3 million.

MDE International, a Michigan-based auto testing service, is also working with the AVRNC.

The facility is expected to generate as many as 2,000 jobs.

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