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Automotive Engineering Company To Open In Northampton County

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A foreign automotive engineering company will create 108 jobs in Northampton County, state officials said Friday.

Lotus Engineering Inc.

, a United Kingdom-based automotive engineering consulting company, plans to open a research and development facility, creating 108 jobs and investing $1.5 million during the next two years.

Lotus Engineering provides a range of services to many of the world's car manufacturers and automotive suppliers, from initial concept, project design through development, to full-production prototypes.

While wages will vary by job function, the anticipated average annual wage for the new positions is $48,000 plus benefits, which is more than the Northampton County average annual salary of $24,128, not including benefits.

The company plans to open their research and development facility at the proposed Advanced Vehicle Research Center later this year.

The facility, to be located near Garysburg, is designed to provide a safe, secure, and private environment while reducing the time and cost of product research and development. The research center was an important element in Lotus' willingness to consider operations in North Carolina.

"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," Lotus Engineering Inc. CEO Don Graunstadt said in a press release.

"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. We look forward to providing a resource to the automotive industry that will assist in the development of advanced technologies."

This is the 41st Job Development Investment Grant announced since Easley started the program in 2002. Under the terms of the nine-year agreement, unanimously approved by the Economic Investment Committee, the North Carolina Department of Commerce estimates the project will generate a cumulative gross product value of about $108 million and produce a positive, cumulative net state revenue impact of $4.9 million.

For each year in which the company meets the required performance targets, the state will provide a grant equal to 65 percent of the state personal income withholding taxes derived from the creation of new jobs. If the company creates the jobs called for under the agreement and sustains them for nine years, the agreement could yield as much as $1.49 million in maximum benefits to the company.

The Job Development Investment Grants are awarded only to new and expanding business and industrial projects whose benefits exceed their costs to the state and which would not be undertaken in North Carolina without the grant. Since the first grant was awarded in 2003, the program has been responsible for creating more than 14,000 jobs and $2.4 billion in investment to North Carolina.

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