Scandinavian automotive supplier association, FKG has started its South Carolina Go Global initiative with visits to US component manufacturers, infrastructure providers and OEMs.

FKG is kicking off its week-long trip to South Carolina with a visit to the Atlantic Port of Charleston, a key facet for European and US suppliers looking to export and which last year received approval to fund deeper channels dredging to allow 24h operations.

Part of the trip will focus on fellow-Swedes, Volvo Cars, which become the latest major coup for South Carolina in attracting European automotive companies to its State, following on the heels of BMW, Daimler and Continental Tires.

The State used to accommodate textile and agricultural sectors, but auto has been increasingly drawn to it, taking advantage of incentives and a burgeoning supply chain.

“This is the first day of our Go Global,” FKG CEO, Fredrik Sidahl told just-auto on his way for a tour of the Port of Charleston. “We are about to visit the harbour to understand shipping logistics.

“We will also visit BMW [and] Boeing where they are making the [787] Dreamliner, supplier companies and of course, officials from the State, saying [outlining] what type of programme [s] and incentives.

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“We will meet suppliers familiar to the crew [Go Global component makers] to see if there is future business for cooperation. Normally, I always say don’t expect to have business from the first trip – you have to start somewhere.”

Rapid access to the deep port at Charleston via South Carolina highways is clearly of major importance to automakers and suppliers, with the State keen to stress the region’s transport attractiveness despite its relatively small population of 4.6m.

South Carolina has 240 Tier 1, 2 and 3 automotive companies in the State, which have started up in the last 15-20 years.