FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 01, 1999

Lila White
www.thedigitaldominion.com
(804) 692-3110


Phil Romba
Volvo Trucks North America, Inc.
(336) 393-3080
Jill Lawrence
VEDP
(804) 371-0049
Volvo Breaks Ground on Plant Expansion in Pulaski
--$148 million expansion will create 1,277 new jobs in the New River Valley--


Dublin - Governor Jim Gilmore today participated in the groundbreaking ceremony for a $148 million expansion of Volvo Trucks North America, Inc.’s New River Valley Assembly Plant (NRV). The three-year project is expected to result in the creation of 1,277 new full-time jobs and increase the production of commercial trucks by 66 percent to 50,000 units annually.

"Investments and jobs from world-class companies like Volvo Trucks are rolling into Southwest Virginia," Governor Gilmore said. "Southwest Virginia and Pulaski County are sharing in Virginia’s prosperity."

"As we planned, Volvo is moving ahead in North America," Volvo Trucks President and CEO Marc F. Gustafson said. "More importantly, we are moving ahead in Virginia, where state and business development leaders lend their support to expand employment opportunities for residents. The success of our company hinges on our people, like the 600 new employees we hired recently. Together with the people of Virginia, Pulaski County, and the United Auto Workers, we will all work together to help expand our business throughout North America."

As a result of the first phase of Volvo’s expansion, 600 new jobs have already been created to staff a second shift for the plant’s assembly operations. The remaining 677 jobs will be created by the end of the project as production rates are increased further.

Governor Gilmore signed legislation creating the Virginia Investment Partnership (VIP). VIP’s goal is to help Virginia-based manufacturers expand operations and modernize facilities through economic grants and tax credits or incentives. It is supported by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, Pulaski County and the New River Valley Economic Development Alliance.

One of the first companies to participate in VIP, Volvo anticipates that nearly $60 million in performance-based incentives will be available over a ten-year period to support the expansion and the hiring and training of plant personnel. Volvo’s performance will be evaluated based on the number of people hired as well as the number of trucks produced annually.

The $148 million expansion project will see the construction of new facilities and infrastructure, as well as improvements to the plant’s four existing buildings. It will also include the installation of additional robotic systems and state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly manufacturing equipment.

In addition, the expansion will include the construction of a "Center of Excellence," a joint effort between Volvo and the New River Community College. The Center will provide employment training programs for area residents, including those employed by Volvo.

Volvo currently employs 3,280 people at the one million square-foot NRV complex adjacent to Interstate 81. In 1998, NRV employees manufactured a record 30,000 commercial trucks that were sold in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Latin American countries.

In January 1999, plant production and salaried employers both ratified new six-year contracts – the longest agreements of their kind in the heavy-truck industry.

Volvo Trucks North America, Inc. manufactures commercial trucks and tractors, including the VN Series, Autocar and Xpeditor. Since late-1996, more than 54,000 Volvo VN Series trucks have been ordered and sold – half of which have come from new accounts.

The company leads the heavy-truck industry in the areas of safety research and development, quality manufacturing processes and environmental care. Volvo Trucks also markets heavy-duty diesel engines and rear suspensions. Headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina, Volvo Trucks is an affiliate of Volvo Truck Corporation of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Joining Governor Gilmore and Gustafson in the groundbreaking ceremony were Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade Josh Lief, Chairman of the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors Joe Sheffey, United Auto Workers Union Local 2069 representative Lee Thomas, Volvo Vice President of Manufacturing Tom Murphy, and Volvo Director of Industrial Development, Environmental Affairs and Real Estate Robert Whelen.

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