Transmission company invests $350M in SC plant

SOUTH CAROLINA (WMBF) - A German company specializing in the production of fuel-efficient automatic transmissions for passenger cars and light trucks has announced it will be expanding its operations in South Carolina.

Gov. Mark Sanford joined executives with ZF Group in Friedrichshafen, Germany, on Thursday for an announcement of the company's projected $350 million investment in Laurens County.

"ZF's decision to make a jobs and capital investment of this magnitude, indeed the largest single infusion of jobs in the history of Laurens County, is an incredible compliment to our state," Sanford stated Wednesday. "This announcement represents not only enormously good news for our state's economy, but also is a telling dividend from our continued efforts to better the business climate in South Carolina."

The company, according to officials, currently operates a number of manufacturing facilities in South Carolina. ZF Group officials cite the company's proximity to major transportation hubs, a competitive business environment and skilled workforce for its gradual growth in the Palmetto State.

"We are eager to build our fuel-efficient automatic transmissions in North Carolina," Dr. Gerhard Wagner, group executive of ZF's Car Driveline Division, said. "We believe increasing emphasis on fuel economy and our reputation for producing high quality, fuel efficient transmissions provide an unprecedented opportunity to grow our business."

The company expects its new transmission plant to employ 900 workers by 2015. Hiring is projected to start in early 2012 for skilled positions that include CNC operators, assemblers, production and logistics.

Construction on the new facility in Laurens County is slated to begin in January.

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