Today's EXIT of the Day is...
EXIT 164n on I-95 to Darlington International Raceway, Florence, South Carolina
Hear this > Here!
"Ok Road Trippers, in about 2 miles you will be approaching Exit 160A which onramps you east to David Mcleod Boulevard. That Boulevard leads you to the Magnolia Mall and even more importantly to the luxury car dealership, BMW of Florence.
"Fast Fact: BMW offers RoadSpoke app users a discount of up to 5% off any cars bought from their lots during the month of April. To possibly -- and I mean even remotely -- take advantage of this offer... I mean, if you want to claim this deal or simply learn more, just tap the Roadspoke Deal Radar logo on your Smart Device now.
"There's no obligation to buy. Later you can learn more when you have the time or just disregard the offer. But if you do go to the dealership, don't forget to tell em, the Spoken Road sent you.
"Coming up on the right you see a sign for Darlington's International Raceway. These 2 themes — cars and international — are very prevalent in South Carolina."Take a look around you. Not you Driver! Eyes back on the road. You will likely see a BMW motor car. Did you know that the German Car Company’s biggest manufacturing plant -- worldwide -- is right here in America? In fact, it is here in South Carolina.
Foreign Investment is BIG business in South Carolina. Such companies as Michelin Tires, Fuji Film, Daimler Benz, and BMW all have made products in the Palmetto State.
One such symbol is that since 1994, BMW has had a production facility in Spartanburg County near the town of Greer. The so-called BMW US Manufacturing Company — also known as BMW Spartanburg — is the only BMW plant in the United States. But it also produces more cars than any other BMW factory in the world.
According to McClatchy Newspapers, 22% — almost 1 in 4 jobs in South Carolina — are supported by Foreign Trade and investment. In fact, there are roughly 2000 foreign-owned firms operating in South Carolina. These foreign companies employ around 130,000 South Carolina citizens. In 2010, Foreign Direct Investment brought 1 billion dollars to the state economy. Since then it has only grown. So Attracting and supporting foreign direct investment is essential for this state’s economy.
But that does not mean the municipal leaders are resting on their laurels. In fact they may be worried.
Tough talk on trade and vowing to rip up international trade deals to bring jobs back to Americans has played a large part in raising anti-trade support from America's blue collar base. It clearly has resonated in South Carolina as well. But in a state that has heavily leveraged globalization into jobs, many are saying that if South Carolina looks backwards, it could harm the state’s economy. Says University of South Carolina economics professor William Hauk, explaining how the state “was hammered” a few decades ago by losses to the textile industry: “I think there’s a bit of a nostalgia sometimes for the jobs the state used to rely on, but many haven’t noticed that lots of new jobs are benefiting the state.”
Like the rest of the country, South Carolina has suffered the loss of farming and blue-collar jobs — but it has benefited MORE than almost any other state from foreign investment. According to McClactchy Newspapers, focusing on creating new jobs through free trade would do more for the state than trade protectionist policies. But what about growing cotton and manufacturing textiles? Nearby Darlington was once huge in the textile business.
University of South Carolina economics professor John McDermott says, “They are never coming back. If these jobs are not in China or Mexico they’ll be somewhere else soon. "
Says John McDermott, "It’s simply an era that is gone for good, so we’ve got to compete in the global marketplace and South Carolina has done a really great job at it.”
Evidence is provided by huge foreign owned factories and packed employee parking lots around the state. In 2014 alone, 1,200 international firms from 42 countries invested five point one billion dollars into the Palmetto State.
Another foreign automaker -- this one from Sweden -- selected South Carolina for its first American factory. Volvo Motor Cars invested $500 million in a facility in Berkeley County outside of Charleston that will create about 2500 good jobs.
And what about that BMW plant?
Over 2,000,000 cars have rolled off its assembly line since it opened in 1994. And they are not done. That German automaker announced a new billion-dollar investment in its Spartanburg plant in 2016. A few years back, in 2010 that was the cumulative foreign investment from all foreign investors. If you were to ask one of the newly employed at these factories, they would say that kind of money is better than “High Cotton!"
So why not get right to Exit and check out some BMW cars. And as we said, if you tell any dealership -- whether it is BMW of Florence or Carvana -- that you first heard it here on RoadSpoke, well you can get 5% off the sticker price. Five percent could mean as much as $3,000 or more in savings. And remember, many of those so-called German luxury cars were made right here in South Carolina.
In fact, all the state’s citizens should praise the German decision makers and say, “Thank you BMW.” Or even better, South Carolinians everywhere should just say “Danke schön”.
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