The Automotive Industry in Virginia

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Liebherr USA, Newport News

Goodyear, Danville

Volvo Trucks North America, Pulaski County

Automotive Industry

Mack Trucks, Roanoke County

Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, Blacksburg


Top automotive companies choose to locate or expand in Virginia for its thriving automotive ecosystem, skilled workforce, innovative culture, outstanding logistical advantages, competitive cost of doing business, and top-ranked business climate. In the past decade, over one hundred automotive projects have been announced in Virginia, representing over 8,500 jobs and $4.4 billion in investment. These companies include truck and van manufacturers Volvo, Mack Trucks, and Morgan Olson; automotive parts manufacturers STS Group and IAC; and a leader in self-driving vehicle systems, Torc Robotics – an industry trailblazer with origins in Virginia.


Why Virginia? 1 Thriving Automotive Innovation Ecosystem

3 Dynamic Center of Automotive Innovation

5 America’s Top State for Talent

7 Strategic Mid-Atlantic Location

9 World-Class Logistics Infrastructure

11 Robust Portfolio of Project-Ready Sites

13 An Attractive, Stable, and Predictable Operating Environment

15 An Exceptional Quality of Life


Thriving Automotive Industry Ecosystem Illustrative Examples A diverse, steadily growing ecosystem of automotive manufacturers, innovators, and customers already thrives in Virginia, with ready access to specialized supply chains and a strong manufacturing base. The Commonwealth’s automotive companies span the entire value chain and all major industry sub-sectors, including manufacturers of auto parts and tires, vehicle assembly operations, and suppliers of parts, materials, and subcomponents, among others. Industry leaders in Virginia include Volvo, Volkswagen, Eldor Corporation, Perrone Robotics, Tenneco, Mack Trucks, and Yokohama.

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Dynamic Center of Automotive Innovation Virginia ranks 10th nationwide and 3rd in the Southeast in research spending in areas relevant to automotive manufacturing. In 2019 Virginia’s public universities invested more than $400 million in automotive research. Major automotive research centers include a Federal Highway Administration Highway Research Center; the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Vehicle Research Center; the Racing College of Virginia; and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) – a renowned center for transportation research, analysis, and development. Motorsports is a major contributor to automotive innovation, which has historical and cultural roots in Virginia. The VIRginia International Raceway and other facilities throughout the state serve as test sites for the automotive industry.

Perrone Robotics, Albemarle County

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Perrone Robotics is an autonomous vehicle company that offers a retrofit autonomy kit for existing vehicles as well as turn-key autonomous vehicles; the company provides services ranging from last-mile shuttles to logistics and work site operations.


Virginia has been one of the leaders among all the states across the country when it comes to automated vehicles. TOM McMAHON Senior Vice President of Advocacy and Government Relations, Association for Unmanned Systems International

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, the second largest university-level transportation institute in the U.S., is committed to finding solutions to the greatest transportation challenges facing the world. The institute offers a number of unique infrastructure-related programs helping to define the technological innovations of tomorrow in the transportation industry, including: ■

Torc Robotics, Blacksburg

Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, Blacksburg

Virginia Smart Roads is a state-of-the-art, closed test-bed research facility managed by VTTI in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Transportation and is proving ground for new transportation technologies including commercial vehicle logistic technologies. The facility offers 2.5 miles of roads, a reconfigurable urban setting, weather towers to create a variety of conditions, and light towers replicate most highway lighting conditions. Virginia Automated Corridors allow the testing of any automated vehicle on Virginia roads under the guidance of VTTI.

Virginia Smart Roads at VTTI Rendering


America’s Top State for Talent Ranked No. 2 in the U.S. for Education and No. 3 for Workforce by CNBC, Virginia is home to almost 250,000 workers in the automotive industry and related occupations. Employers can draw from the tens of thousands of skilled workers in transportation equipment manufacturing industries in Virginia, including the East Coast’s largest shipbuilding cluster, and from the thousands of service members exiting the armed services from military installations in Virginia each year. Virginia is home to excellent K-12 schools – No. 1 in the South and No. 4 in the U.S., according to WalletHub – and the No. 1 higher education system in the U.S., according to SmartAsset, ensuring a steady flow of new talent every year. Virginia further ensures that new or expanding companies can quickly attract and onboard high-quality employees by offering a world-class, customized talent acquisition and training solution, the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program. The program is provided at no cost to qualified companies as an incentive for job creation, as are grants from the Virginia Jobs Investment Program, for companies that prefer to manage their own recruitment and training. 5


Morgan Olson, Danville-Pittsylvania County

Morgan Olson, LLC Steps into Southern Virginia In 2019, Morgan Olson, North America’s leading manufacturer of all-aluminum walk-in step vans, announced the transformation of a 925,000-square-foot former furniture manufacturing plant in Ringgold, Virginia into a state-of-the-art automotive manufacturing facility. The plant was operational by June 2020 and is expected to employ more than 700 people. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Morgan Olson step vans have been in high demand, delivering essential supplies and services. Through the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program, Danville Community College is partnering with Morgan Olson to train skilled workers in the region on the company’s advanced processes and procedures, ensuring a steady flow of talent for years to come.

I have worked with workforce development programs in four different states throughout the Southeast. The Virginia Talent Accelerator Program has been the most engaged that I have worked with.

STEVEN PARKER General Manager, Morgan Olson

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Strategic Mid-Atlantic Location Virginia’s central location provides important advantages for automotive and related companies, including proximity to major clusters of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the Midwest and the Southeast, as well as access to major hubs of economic activity along the Northeast corridor, across the Southeast, and throughout the Midwest. Virginia is also ideally positioned for the export and import of automotive products.

Virginia is particularly businessoriented, with its pro-business laws, Port of Virginia access, logistics and infrastructure. We found a community of genuine and collaborative people, focused on supporting investment in a practical way and with great commitment. We found top-class universities and a great community college, with programs dedicated to the mechatronics sector that will grow excellent young engineers with the skills necessary to run Eldor’s advanced automated lines. PASQUALE FORTE President and CEO, Eldor Corporation 7


Eldor Corporation Fuels Virginia’s Automotive Sector International companies are often drawn to Virginia because the Commonwealth is connected to domestic and global markets in a way that many other U.S. states are not. Virginia’s strategic central location on the Mid-Atlantic Coast provides interstate and rail access to the Northeast, Southeast, and Midwest and is within a one-day drive of 47% of the U.S. population – ideal factors for a global manufacturer like Eldor. In addition, 16 commercial airports serve Virginia, including Washington Dulles International Airport, which provides nonstop flights to every continent in the world except Antarctica and Australia, a critical factor for a company with clients and facility operations around the globe. The Commonwealth also stood out to Eldor because of its world-class port facility, The Port of Virginia, which is served by every major shipping line and represents the U.S. East Coast’s best-positioned first and last call port for post-Panamax ships. As the only East Coast port with authorization for 55-foot channels, The port boasts deep shipping channels, no height restrictions, and double-stack rail service with two Class I railroads. Finding a location with close proximity to a port was a critical factor in Eldor’s search for a U.S. site, as the global manufacturer requires strategic access to the worldwide marketplace.

Eldor Corporation, Botetourt County

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World-Class Logistics Infrastructure A dense network of roads, railways, ports, and airports allows for easy worldwide interconnectivity and efficient operational logistics. Virginia is covered by the second-densest roadway and railway networks in the Southeast and served by the third-largest port on the East Coast. Port facilities include four deepwater terminals in Hampton Roads, the inland Richmond Marine Terminal, and the Virginia Inland Port. In 2024, after completion of a $1.5 billion modernization and expansion project, The Port of Virginia will be the East Coast’s deepest port and one of the most advanced in the world.

2nd

6

3,000 miles

300k+ tons

densest roadway and railway networks in the Southeast

major interstates, including major North-South and East-West trucking routes

of railways (anchored by Class I railroads CSX and Norfolk Southern)

of air cargo handled annually by Washington Dulles International Airport

71

NEW JERSEY

68 MARYLAND

70

Baltimore

OHIO

Interstate

58

U.S. Highway

288

66 WEST VIRGINIA

79

77

SBY

Charleston

State Route

250

95

33

SHD

CHO

220

64

LWB

81

15

29

19

GSO

26

Greensboro

TYS

85

NORTH CAROLINA

77

95 ORF

58

85

40 RDU Raleigh

40

Norfolk

360

Danville

77

58

TRI

64

RIC

PHF

29

81

Bristol

TENNESSEE

40

288

501

221 23 ¡

13

Richmond

LYH

Roanoke

77

17

64

ROA

KENTUCKY

Knoxville

301

Charlottesville

60

75

DELAWARE

DCA

21 1

Railroad

64

Washington, D.C.

IAD

The Port of Virginia 64

BWI

Winchester

Commercial Airport

95

95


2

auto import yards are often used by automotive carriers at the Newport New Marine Terminal

6

terminals comprise The Port of Virginia and operate on a combined 1,864 acres, including four deepwater terminals

RoRo cargo

The port’s six terminals are uniquely equipped with modern deepwater berths to handle roll-on roll-off (RoRo) cargo

35 minutes

for traditional turn time and 39 minutes for expanded turn time, significantly below the industry standard of 60 minutes, in 2020

$1.5 billion

modernization and expansion project on track to create the deepest, widest, and safest commercial shipping channels and harbor on the East Coast Virginia International Gateway, Portsmouth

Source: The Port of Virginia


Robust Portfolio of Project-Ready Sites With 450+ fully characterized sites of 25 acres or larger, dozens of certified sites, and a growing inventory of spec buildings and virtual buildings, Virginia is continuously expanding its portfolio of real estate options for the automotive industry. For large OEM projects, Virginia has two business-ready megasites, which are fully zoned and characterized, with infrastructure in place or deliverable within 12 months. Companies looking for ready-built options have ample choices among the thousands of existing buildings with over 29 million square feet of industrial space for lease, including over 450 vacant industrial buildings of 10,000 square feet or larger. Construction is underway on an additional 8.3 million square feet of industrial space across the state. 77

275

Baltimore

Maryland Winchester

7 Leesburg

Total Site Acreage

Certified Sites Additional Sites in Development

Washington, D.C.

66

99 and below 100 to 499

Delaware

Alexandria

79

95

211

500 and above

81

33

Culpeper

17

Harrisonburg

64

West Virginia

Fredericksburg

250 301 220

Staunton

17

Charlottesville

360

29

64

33

15

Lexington

64

Beckley

220

13

81 60 460

Blacksburg

Kentucky

Lynchburg

77

19

23

Petersburg

81

221

460

Nor folk

29 South Boston Mar tinsville

58

Johnson City

64

85

360

220

77

Bristol

Williamsburg

460

95

Wytheville

26

360

460

501

Wise

Tennessee

288

Farmville

Roanoke

460

58

17

Richmond

Danville

58 South Hill

Emporia

Virginia Beach

501

North Carolina

74

85 Winston-Salem Knoxville

40

Greensboro Durham

Raleigh

40+

sites are certified as project-ready under Virginia’s Business Ready Sites Program

11

12

of Virginia’s certified parks have graded pad sites available for construction

12-18 mos. for project-ready sites to have utilities on-site and all infrastructure in place


The Southern Virginia Megasite at Berry Hill is a large, shovelready, publicly owned site in Southern Virginia near Danville. The site offers numerous advantages: ■

Southern Virginia Megasite at Berry Hill, Pittsylvania County

2,500+ acres of developable land (largest contiguous parcel is 2,100 acres). 200-acre graded pad, expandable to 800+ acres. Infrastructure for typical large industrial projects deliverable on an aggressive schedule. Dual-feed 300 MW electricity work to begin Q3 2021, completed Q2 2023. Class I rail line on-site (Norfolk Southern) connecting site to The Port of Virginia. Planned and fully funded 2-mile industrial connector road, which will connect the site directly to the designated Interstate 785. Environmental, cultural, historical, wetlands, geotechnical studies, and confirmations in place. Capability of fully supporting 100% renewable energy. Easy access to skilled, competitively priced labor in DanvilleGreensboro areas. Strong regional training assets. Simple and competitive negotiations of land transactions with property under public ownership.

The Mid-Atlantic Advanced Manufacturing Center (MAMaC) is a large, shovel-ready, publicly owned site designed to accommodate heavy industrial users. The site offers numerous advantages: ■

Mid-Atlantic Advanced Manufacturing Center, Greensville County

1,600 publicly controlled acres available for development. 400-acre site, expandable to 720 acres. Infrastructure for typical large industrial projects deliverable on an aggressive schedule. Secured Right of Ways for Electrical and Natural Gas extensions. Strategic location along Interstate 95 with interstate visibility and two interchanges. Easy access to the adjacent National Gateway rail line, CSX’s primary intermodal train corridor connecting The Port of Virginia and international markets to major markets in the Midwest. Easy access to The Port of Virginia by road and rail. Capability of fully supporting 100% renewable energy. Environmental, cultural, historical, wetlands, and geotechnical studies and confirmations in place. Ability to draw competitively priced labor from the Richmond and Hampton Roads regions. Simple and competitive negotiations of land transactions with property under public ownership.

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Volkswagen Group of America, Fairfax County

Torc Robotics, Montgomery County

O’Sullivan Films, Inc., Winchester


An Attractive, Stable, and Predictable Operating Environment Named America’s Top State for Business by CNBC, and the No. 2 state for governance by U.S. News & World Report, Virginia is widely recognized for its favorable regulatory climate and consistently rated one of the best-run states in the country. Having maintained a AAA bond rating since 1938, longer than any other state, Virginia offers a stable tax environment and competitive wages, construction costs, and industrial lease rates. Virginia also has one of the oldest right-to-work laws and the 4th-lowest private-sector unionization rate in the country, at 2.5%. In every region, Virginia is at low risk for natural hazards, so automotive industry operations are at low risk for disruption.

Virginia is the northernmost right-to-work state along the I-95 Corridor.

Virginia has had a stable 6% corporate income tax rate, one of the lowest in the nation, since 1972.

Sound economic policy and prudent financial management has earned Virginia a AAA credit rating since 1938 — longer than any other state.

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An Exceptional Quality of Life

With a competitive cost of living, a mild, four-season climate, and unrivaled natural and cultural attractions, Virginia offers an exceptional quality of life. Virginia residents enjoy life in vibrant cities and picturesque small towns, with easy driving distance to scenic shorelines and mountain vistas. For these reasons and many others, Forbes ranked Virginia No. 1 in the U.S. for quality of life.

Tinker Cliffs, Botetourt County

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The Omni Homestead Resort, Bath County

Virginia Creeper Trail, Washington County


Smith Mountain Lake, Bedford County

Carpenter Theatre, Richmond

Sandbridge, Virginia Beach

Old Town Winchester

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Recently chosen as one of Car and Driver’s top six road courses in the nation, VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) is a multi-purpose road course that offers professional and amateur auto and motorcycle racing, and a wide range of track events, drawing tens of thousands of spectators every year. VIR is a prominent testing facility for the automotive industry, known for uphill S-curves and sharp elevation changes.

Expertise • Collaboration • Innovation • Solutions The Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s (VEDP) team of dedicated and knowledgeable professionals is committed to Virginia’s economic success, and connects industry-leading businesses to the resources they need to make relocation and expansion successful endeavors. From site selection, customized research, cost analysis, and coordination with public and private partners, to discretionary incentives and workforce solutions, VEDP’s services are tailored to companies’ unique requirements. To learn more about VEDP’s expertise and resources, visit VEDP.org.

© January 2022