Carbon Motors asks South Carolina to make a pitch for manufacturing plant

By Scott Miller
smiller@scbiznews.com
Published March 3, 2009

Carbon Motors Corp. has asked officials in Greenville and Spartanburg to submit a package that will lure the vehicle manufacturer to the Upstate.

The communities are on the startup company’s short list to locate a $350 million plant to produce fuel-efficient, high-performance vehicles for law enforcement agencies. The facility would employ 1,100 to 1,300 people and manufacture 75,000 cars a year, pending market conditions, said spokesman Stacy Dean Stephens. Production is slated to begin in 2012, and the company plans to choose a location this summer, he said.

Carbon Motors promotional
This is part of a promotional poster for Carbon Motors’s Pure Justice tour. (Provided by Carbon Motors Corp.)

Georgia-based Carbon Motors, which visited the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research in December, is also considering sites near Atlanta, Savannah and Charlotte. Michigan and Indiana also are on the short list.

“If a state expresses interest in having us come in, we want to make sure they’re going to be competitive and give us a good deal just like anybody else,” Stephens said of the company submitting requests for proposal to officials in the five states.

Local economic development officials could not discuss the company’s plans or any ongoing negotiations, said Kevin Landmesser, vice president of the Greenville Area Development Corp., and Carter Smith, executive vice president of Economic Futures Group of Spartanburg County.

“We’re aware of it and working on it with people in Greenville,” Smith said, declining to discuss specifics or comment further.

Stephens would not discuss capital financing for the project, noting that Carbon Motors is a privately held corporation. The company hired an investment banker last June from Bear, Stearns & Co. to lead capital formation and corporate development.

The company began touring the nation last year to gauge interest in the vehicle, as well as investigate potential locations for its facility.

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