Carolina Core Propels Transportation Technology Growth

With massive investments by Toyota, VinFast, Wolfspeed and Siemens Mobility in the Carolina Core, the region has unstoppable momentum in its automotive and heavy vehicles industry.

The Carolina Core’s strong manufacturing legacy, central East Coast location and large tracts of developable land have long-attracted major players in the transportation industry, but three recent global investments will be game changers for the region:

  • Toyota Motor Corp. is building a massive $3.79 billion electric vehicle battery plant at the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite. The new plant will be capable of producing enough lithium-ion batteries for 200,000 all-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles when production is slated to begin in 2025.
  • VinFast, the Vietnamese carmaker, is investing more than $4 billion in a plant to produce both electric batteries and vehicles at Chatham County’s Triangle Innovation Point Megasite.
  • Siemens Mobility, Inc., global manufacturer of rail transportation vehicles and control systems, is building a major advanced manufacturing and rail services center in Davidson County, creating 506 jobs. The company will invest $220 million in Lexington, creating a new carbon neutral facility that will serve the company’s East Coast markets.
  • Wolfspeed, a global leader in silicon carbide semiconductor manufacturing, is building its newest semiconductor manufacturing plant in the Carolina Core, investing more than $5 billion in a facility that will create 1,800 jobs. The plant will increase the company’s capacity to produce silicon carbide materials used in semiconductors, which are used in electric vehicles (EVs) and other clean energy applications.

With more than 230 companies in the automotive and heavy truck industries statewide, Caterpillar, GKN, Mack Trucks, Thomas Built Buses, Volvo Trucks, John Deere and Beta Fueling Systems are among other transportation companies with major operations in central North Carolina. Hundreds of precision manufacturers are also supplying parts to BMW, Volvo, Nissan, Honda, Kia and other automotive manufacturers in nearby states.

Manufacturers in the Carolina Core can source and ship parts and reach customers quickly with the area’s well-developed road and rail infrastructure and air access via Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTI). FedEx’s robust presence, with its 1 million-square-foot Mid-Atlantic Air Hub at PTI and 400,000-square-foot FedEx Ground facility in Kernersville, gives automotive manufacturers and suppliers guaranteed overnight connection by ground and air.

Skilled and Diverse Talent Pool

Community colleges play a vital role in the Carolina Core’s pipeline of automotive production talent. Automotive Systems Technology programs are available at Forsyth Technical Community College and Guilford Technical Community College (GTCC) where certifications include ASE, Snap-On, Ford, Toyota and more. Supply Chain Management programs are available at Fayetteville Technical Community College, Forsyth Tech and GTCC.

Diverse engineers of tomorrow are being educated at four-year institutions including Campbell University, Elon University and High Point University. North Carolina A&T State University, which offers a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Engineering Technology, is the No. 1 producer of African American engineering graduates in the United States, while Wake Forest University’s engineering program enriched by liberal arts features a precedent-setting female-majority faculty.

Notable Employers