When thinking of investing in the U.S. automotive industry, thoughts often lean towards the Detroit, Michigan area. Check again – the rapidly expanding Southeastern Automotive Corridor has become the new epicenter of automotive manufacturing growth in the United States, abundant with strong networks and growth potential.
Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee have collectively become a key industry driver for the U.S. automotive market – one of the largest in the world. This comes as no surprise as the Southeast is home to both 25.4% of the U.S. population and one of the nation’s most robust economies, with a GDP of $2.4 trillion – representing nearly 15.5 percent of the U.S. economy as a whole.
More than 1,060 automotive firms are located throughout the seven states. The region hosts 16 major auto, truck, and bus assembly plants for leading companies such as Hyundai, General Motors, BMW, Honda, Kia, Volkswagen, Toyota and Blue Bird. Mercedes-Benz and Porsche both maintain North American headquarters in Atlanta, GA, and Nissan holds theirs in Franklin, TN.
Map and Research by Georgia Power
Business Facilities magazine named Tennessee the top state in its Automotive Manufacturing Strength ranking for five of the past six years. The Nissan plant in Smyrna, TN is the most productive plant in North America, producing 633,347 automobiles in 2015. Southeastern states exported nearly $28 billion in motor vehicle, motor vehicle bodies and trailers and motor vehicle parts in 2012, accounting for 62 percent of total transportation equipment exports. Consumer demand is on the rise – new vehicle registrations in the area are expected to grow from around 3 million to 3.1 million between 2016-2020.
The Southeast’s sound economy, stable and growing workforce, low unionization, right-to-work status and low costs of doing business provide additional incentives for automotive leaders to drive towards the region. The Southeast can present a lucrative opportunity for any automotive company looking to invest. But what is the best approach? With the right partner to help plan the ideal market entry strategy through M&A or else, investing in the Southeastern automotive sector can put firms on the right track for growth and profitability.
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