ASHEVILLE – A long-time Buncombe County manufacturer that has shifted to electric and hybrid vehicle technology will get $460,000 in local taxpayer funded incentives.
In return, BorgWarner has agreed to make a $62 million expansion to its Arden plant that will keep 500 current jobs and add 100 new ones with pay averaging $24.85 annually.
Buncombe County Board of Commissioners voted 7-0 at a March 3 meeting to award the incentives that will be paid over six years.
“We appreciate the great work that company’s done in buncombe County (and) the workforce that you have here,” said board Chair Brownie Newman.
The promised county payout comes after a 2020 deal to give aircraft engine maker Pratt & Whitney $27 million to build a plant county leaders said would bring generational change but that opponents panned as taxpayer funding for a war profiteer.
The one caller for the public hearing, Rachel Bliss, said she found the BorgWarner agreement “more acceptable” but disagreed with the idea giving large businesses taxpayer-funded incentives.
The company has had manufacturing operations in Western North Carolina since 1975, with a long-time focus on classic fossil-fuel powered vehicles. That emphasis has changed over the last eight years, said Facilities Manager Brian Leising.
“It’s really focused on understanding the transition from the internal combustion engine technology, which is historically what BorgWarner had been about, moving more into the electrification world,” he said.
The plant expansion is intended to enhance the company’s design, development and production capabilities of vehicle turbomachinery, thermal management and emissions control systems.
Joel Burgess has lived in WNC for more than 20 years, covering politics, government and other news. He’s written award-winning stories on topics ranging from gerrymandering to police use of force. Please help support this type of journalism with a subscription to the Citizen Times.