Is the death of GM good for the Upstate of South Carolina?

Posted 9 years ago by Adam Gautsch

Evan: Is the death of GM good for the upstate?

Bear: Interesting question probably so, at least at first blush.

I thought this was really interesting question by Evan. The Upstate of South Carolina has a BMW production plant, a large Michelin presence, and tons more suppliers moving in thanks to CU-ICAR. Could the Upstate be poised to pick up some more of the domestic car production slack with the Big Three struggling so.


Evan Tishuk ~ 9 years ago

I actually meant to ask that question to Mr. Waldschmidt (who went to Germany to pick up his car). He and I ended up chatting around this question and the bottom line is that someone will have to pick up the slack for the American car market if any of "the big three" go belly up. BMW doesn't make cars for "the every man," and that's what we're going to need. Toyota and/or Volkswagon seem much more poised to fill that gap. So if the upstate is going to benefit from a decline of the traditional American auto-manufacturing powers, BMW should consider making more affordable cars (not likely) or calls need to be made to other manufacturers (with BMW's blessing of course).

The secondary manufacturers of parts and supplies are also in jeopardy until new relationships are negotiated. I don't know if anyone has a clue how that might impact the upstate. Probably negatively.

dave ~ 9 years ago

It's a dual edged sword, at least perceivably from the outside looking in. With my only exposure to the automotive industry being a short stint at BMW as an interface programmer, this opinion doesn't mount to much so I'll deduce it from a stand point of reason vs. economics:

Reason dictates that the south pick up the slack and replace the upper Midwest as a major automotive hub. The infrastructure foundations are there, at least in IT with ICAR, Immedion, and a community of active personnel in the technology industry. Remember the talk we had on AIM about all the smart people leaving SC? I think if anything is going to keep innovation in our state and really bring the Southeast (and more hopefully South Carolina) out of the shadow of textile mills that don't even run anymore, BMW and Michelin need to lead the path in transparent R&D.

Economically, this is a massive feat to pull off. The infrastructure is not there in this regard, people need to be hired, offices need to be constructed. Again, I have a limited view on things but ICAR can't do it all and speak for the entire southern corridor when shit hits the proverbial fan. I could easily see it becoming the paradigm which sets the modus operandi of a new automotive development culture. Reasonably it's sound, economically we're on the right track. We just need to keep focus.

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