Charleston West Virginia Economic Development

Discussions on Economic and Community Development in West Virginia and the Charleston MSA as well as issues of the Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Charleston Area Alliance Encourages
Support of Auto Industry

The Charleston Area Alliance is urging lawmakers to support the auto industry.

“During this economic downturn, it is vital that decision-makers carefully consider measures to keep our most critical industries, including the auto sector, afloat,” said Jack Rossi, Chairman of the Charleston Area Alliance Board. “If a major manufacturer fails, the ripple effect on businesses, communities and workers across the country could be devastating.”

The auto industry is a major component of our local economy, Rossi noted. Kanawha County has eight suppliers that employ approximately 443 people, while Putnam County has eight suppliers employing 1,400. Together, those suppliers account for 1,843 jobs.

The Alliance’s membership also includes auto dealerships, truck dealerships and tire stores. The automotive sector is one of the four target industries on which the Alliance concentrates its efforts to recruit and expand new jobs in the region. The other three are chemical, printing and energy.

“Eighty percent of the US automotive industry is within overnight shipping distance from West Virginia,” said Matthew Ballard, President and CEO of the Charleston Area Alliance. “This geographic advantage has helped create an automotive corridor running from Wood to Wayne County,” he noted, adding that “suppliers know that they can serve the traditional Michigan markets and the new Southern automotive corridor from West Virginia, ‘just in time.’”

“We stand ready to speak out for the auto industry and our local businesses and workers who are involved in this major sector of our economy,” he said.


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