By Tom Croteau, deputy commissioner, global commerce, the Georgia Department of Economic Development
Over the past few months, the state of Georgia has celebrated Anton Haring KG first U.S. auto facility in Hartwell; Mercedes-Benz USA headquarters to Atlanta; and Porsche's grand opening of its headquarters near the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
These announcements are a testimony to Georgia’s thriving automotive hub – and they tell one that the state is hitting the mark for global automotive leaders.
Georgia’s solid transportation and logistics system, qualified labor pool and solid business ties with key international markets are supporting the resurgence of the automotive industry to the Southeast.
The state’s geographical location enables accessibility to 14 OEMs in the Southeast and key global markets through a seamless air, sea, rail and highway network, including the fourth largest and fastest-growing container port in North America and the busiest, most efficient passenger airport in the world – the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. More than 20 percent of the East Coast’s automotive-related exports leave through the Georgia Ports Authority and the Port of Brunswick is the nation’s busiest seaport for automobile imports.
Georgia's logistics network boasts more than 11,000 logistics providers that employ more than one million logistics-connected employees. The interconnected transportation network, including 5,000 miles of the most extensive rail system in the Southeast and the largest intermodal facility on the East Coast, connects to 80 percent of the U.S. market in less than two days.
Georgia also boasts a thriving labor force and educational institutions that work with unique needs for automotive companies. Georgia’s 24 technical colleges with 30+ satellite campuses offer a broad range of training in automated manufacturing technology, robotics technology and electrical control systems.
Georgia Quick Start, the No. 1 workforce development program in the nation, offers customized training in areas ranging from robotic welding to quality testing and injection molding.
Last, the state's strong business ties with thriving global markets puts Georgia on the radar for companies in the automotive industry that are looking to expand in the U.S. Since the beginning of 2014, automotive companies from Japan, Europe and Korea have invested $1.4 billion and created nearly 4,500 jobs in the state. In FY14, Japan, Germany and Korea were Georgia's top-three investor nations.
The existing team of industry project managers and international trade representatives work with small- and medium-sized manufacturers to help them grow their business.
Still, it isn’t enough to simply work inside Georgia to promote the state’s thriving automotive cluster. That’s why Georgia also has international trade representatives in 11 markets covering 37 countries to help companies find business opportunities in these regions.
The state's business ties with these regions remain strong – and Georgia's solid transportation and logistics infrastructure, coupled with a skilled workforce are key drivers for the automotive industry.
If you are considering the U.S. for your next automotive operation, check out Georgia by reaching out to the state's global commerce team. Visit Georgia.org/Automotive to learn more.
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