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Greenville, Spartanburg counties make final decision on Volvo tax breaks

Krys Merryman //October 18, 2022//

Greenville, Spartanburg counties make final decision on Volvo tax breaks

Krys Merryman //October 18, 2022//

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Over the last few weeks, Greenville and Spartanburg County Councils have heard out the public on whether Volvo Cars USA’s fee-in-lieu-of-tax agreements should be approved. The FILOT applies to specific sites occupied by parts makers in the Upstate to prepare the company’s Ridgeville plant for building its new and fully electric flagship SUV.

The Greenville County Council public hearing and second reading were on Sept. 20, and the third and final reading was on Oct. 4. With a unanimous vote, the Greenville County Council voted to approve the tax break. The Spartanburg County Council also gave their final approval at the third reading on Monday, which was also a unanimous vote.

“We are thrilled to have the impact of Volvo locating in South Carolina being felt in Spartanburg,” said Spartanburg County Councilman and Economic Development Chair David Britt. “The impact of incredible companies like BMW, Volvo, Boeing and a host of others impacts all 46 counties in South Carolina in some way and this is why we celebrate each county’s success. The ripple effect touches all our residents in some positive fashion and this is a great example of that fact.”

SC Biz News requested comment on the approval from Greenville County Council Chairman Willis Meadows on Monday and Tuesday but had not received a response at publication time.

Volvo Cars USA plans to invest upward of $62 million in existing businesses that supply the automaker. 

This is part of Volvo’s plan to prepare its Ridgeville plant for building the EX90, which is set to debut on Nov. 9, said Katherine Bergmann, Volvo Car U.S. Operations head of communications and community relations. 

“This type of investment is common in the industry and will have a positive impact on the economy,” Bergmann said in September. “We’re always looking to support the local community.”

This is a new investment that will generate tax revenue without putting a strain on existing infrastructure in the county, Bergmann added. 

Both counties considered the FILOT agreements with Volvo in return for the company’s capital outlay plans, according to the agreements. A Greenville Area Development Corp. statement in late September clarified reports, stating clearly that the investment is not to build a new Volvo plant. 

In the automotive industry, strategic investments are often made by brands such as Volvo with select suppliers to have certain work, such as tooling or mold preparation, done at the facilities of those partners, which is the case in this pending agreement with Greenville County, the statement said.

Ultimate decisions on staffing and job creation will be made by the partners at the chosen locations where Volvo’s investment in equipment and site preparations will take place, the statement said.  

The agreements call for the company to invest at least a combined $50.6 million in the counties over a span of five years. 

Sites listed in Greenville County documents by Volvo include 120 Moon Acres Road in Piedmont and 800 Woodside Ave. in Fountain Inn. The Piedmont address is home to Magna, an industrial machinery manufacturer that works with Volvo already, while the Fountain Inn address is home to Wirthwein, an international plastic injection molding service company, according to the statement. According to Spartanburg County’s agreement, the sites listed include 1 Austrian Way and 1000 Robinson Road, both in Spartanburg, and 1200 Woods Chapel Road in Duncan. 

Related: Volvo Cars seeks to invest in supplier plants as it readies for new model

Related: Governor puts weight behind electric vehicles