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Volvo Construction Equipment Decides To Expand, Not Close, Asheville Facility

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Economic incentives ranging from tax credits for new job creation to a grant for training helped convince Volvo Construction Equipment to expand rather than close its facility in Asheville, the company said on Thursday.

"Without their assistance, we would be announcing the closure, not the expansion of this facility," said Dave Million, vice president and general manager for the Volvo business group, in reference to the aid the company received.

The Volvo facility is located in the Asheville suburb of Skyland.

Volvo Construction Equipment said it would invest between $35 million and $55 million in new facilities and hire between 250 and 300 workers over the next five years. The hires would more than double the existing Volvo workforce in Asheville of 220.

The company will add a new excavator product line as part of the expansion. Volvo officials did consider another state for the new facility.

In exchange for building and hiring in Asheville, the division of Volvo Group will receive as much as $3 million in tax benefits from the state under the Job Development Investment Grant program.

The Golden Leaf Foundation chipped in with a $250,000 grant to AB-Tech community college for worker training. The Advantage West regional economic development partnership helped secure the grant.

The company also received incentives from local governments.

Volvo has operated a facility in Asheville since 1977.

Expansion is expected to begin next year.

Governor Mike Easley's office said as many as 264 jobs would be created. "Volvo Construction Equipment's decision to expand its operations in Asheville further enhances our reputation as a national leader in the automotive industry," Easley said in a statement. "We will continue to make the necessary investments in our infrastructure, workforce and education to ensure that our state remains a place where companies can grow and thrive." The new jobs will average $38,000 plus benefits, the governor's office said.

Volvo Construction Equipment manufacturers wheel loaders, excavators, articulated haulers, motor graders, backhoes, skid steers, compact excavators and compact wheel loaders.

The group opened a $7 million corporate headquarters and training center in the Biltmore Park Technology Center in 1999.

"Buncombe County's diverse economy needs manufacturers like Volvo Construction Equipment to provide quality jobs for our future," said AdvantageWest Chief Executive Officer Dale Carroll. "Local, regional and state leaders should be proud of their efforts that helped make this happen, and workers across Western North Carolina can be thankful that quality new jobs are on the way."