Automotive & Heavy Equipment

North Carolina is where the rubber meets the road for more than 290 auto manufacturing establishments, which is no surprise considering our 26,000-strong industry workforce and low tax burden.

Meet some of the automotive, truck and heavy machinery companies doing business in North Carolina:

Aisin AW logo     BorgWarner logo     Bridgestone logo     Caterpillar logo

Continental logo     Cooper Standard Automotive logo     Daimler logo     Denso logo

Freightliner logo     GKN Driveline logo     Goodyear logo     Thomas Built Buses logo

Just like the products they make, our auto and heavy machinery industries are built from the ground up.

Whether it’s for entertainment, transportation or getting work done, North Carolina appreciates anything with an engine. That, coupled with the following reasons, are partly why the auto manufacturing industry here has grown 25% over last five years:

Competitive advantages

Competitive advantages

  • The lowest corporate income tax rate in the U.S.
    • 3 percent corporate tax rate
    • NC is ranked No. 1 for lowest state and local tax burden in the United States by Ernst & Young and the Council on State Taxation
  • Significantly lower labor costs
    • Wages for aerospace workers (including engineers, avionics techs and aircraft mechanics) in NC are up to 25 percent lower than traditional aerospace hubs, like CA and WA
  • Access to four deep-water seaports
    • Ports in Wilmington, NC and Morehead City, NC
    • Provide some of the quickest turnaround times on the East Coast, low costs and easy access to NC’s rail and highway systems
    • Easy access to the ports of Charleston, SC and Norfolk, VA
  • Access to the largest consolidated rail system in the U.S.
    • 3,200+ miles (5,150 km) of track
    • Easy access to major seaports and manufacturing hubs in the Southeast
  • Reliable, low-cost electricity
    • NC’s average industrial electricity rate is more than 8 percent lower than the national average


  • The largest manufacturing workforce in the Southeast
    • More than 460,000 manufacturing workers in NC
    • Tenth-largest manufacturing workforce in the nation
    • Fifth-highest gross state product from manufacturing, at 20 percent
  • An educated and highly trained workforce
    • Three Tier 1 research universities within 25 miles of one another:
      • Duke University
      • North Carolina State University
      • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    • 125 public and private colleges and universities across the state
    • NC’s 58-campus community college system offers a variety of training and classes within 25 miles of every resident in the state
  • Customized training programs
    • NCWorks, the state’s comprehensive workforce development platform, offers customizable training for new and existing businesses in the state
  • A readymade workforce from the military
    • NC is home to the third-largest military population in the U.S.
    • Approximately 78,000 will end their service by 2018, many of which will be looking for jobs
Research infrastructure

Research infrastructure

  • North Carolina Global TransPark
    • NCGTP boasts an 11,500-foot runway and warehouse facilities with direct runway and highway access
    • Provides access to an onsite rail spur, a fiberoptic network and two deep-water seaports
    • Operates within Foreign-Trade Zone No. 214
  • Spirit AeroSystems Composite Center of Excellence
    • A 33,000-square-foot aerospace industry training center
    • Includes a composites training lab operated by Lenoir Community College
    • Supports pathways into careers to serve the growing aerospace and related industries in the state
  • Fleet Readiness Center East 
    • This FRC is maintained by the Marine Corps Air Station at Cherry Point
    • Delivers maintenance engineering and logistics support for Navy and Marine Corp aviation
    • Provides airframe and engine maintenance for the F-35
  • NextGen Air Transportation 
    • NGAT is an NC State-led consortium of 30+ academic, government and industry members for developing aviation technology, field trials and investigations
    • Focuses on improving air traffic control, airspace management, airport and airport system capacity, flight safety and more as it pertains to Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) within U.S. airspace