Haley, Volvo sign deal, hiring to begin in 2017

VIDEO: Haley, Volvo officials sign deal to bring new plant to Berkeley Co.
Published: May. 28, 2015 at 4:20 PM EDT|Updated: May. 28, 2015 at 9:08 PM EDT
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BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Gov. Nikki Haley welcomed Volvo into the South Carolina family Thursday at a press conference designed to provide more information about the new plant set to break ground in Berkeley County this fall.

"We are a state that keeps our promises," she said to executives from the automaker. "We are a state that will work hard for you."

The company's North American CEO, Lex Kerssemakers, said Volvo considered 60 locations across the country before choosing the site in Berkeley County for its new plant.

Executives with the company say hiring for the new plant will begin in 2017, with the bulk of hiring to happen in 2018.

"Here in Charleston and South Carolina, we have found our American manufacturing home," Kerssemakers said. He cited what he described as South Carolina's strong infrastructure, a business-friendly environment, a strong workforce and a local team that wants to work alongside the company as selling points that led the company to choose South Carolina.

"It became clear to us that South Carolina wants us to succeed," he said.

Haley promised the state would over-deliver on its promises.

"We're always ahead of schedule, we always work harder than you think we're going to work," she said.

More than 7,000 people have already expressed interest in working at the new plant, Volvo officials say.

The new site, which will house the first assembly plant for Volvo in the United States, is about 30 miles northwest of Charleston in unincorporated Ridgeville.

Berkeley County attorney John Williams III said the final details of the Volvo agreement with the county will not be made public until the final permitting is approved, a process that could take up to two months. However, on Wednesday night, county council agreed to allow the county administrator to negotiate a fee instead of taxes based on a percentage as low as four percent on the property's value, Williams said. Council also agreed to allow a special credit of up to 80 percent off revenue taxes provided the company meets certain investment quotas in the county, he said.

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