Testing Ensures the Vitality of South Carolina’s Automotive Industry

LogoIn 1992, world-class automaker BMW announced it would build its first full North American manufacturing facility on a 900-acre megasite straddling Greenville and Spartanburg Counties. The presence of a major automotive OEM effectively solidified the Upstate as the home of a vibrant automotive industry cluster, one that would soon become the fastest growing in the United States.

As hundreds of Tier 1, 2 and 3 suppliers set up operations here, other OEMs followed suit. Most notably Proterra, the country’s most prolific maker of battery-powered buses. Since establishing its first factory in Greenville in 2011, Proterra has been a proven leader in the worldwide movement toward clean transportation.

Today, global brands such as Michelin, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Robert Bosch, and Magna have a significant presence in South Carolina and every one of them has something in common – they all have testing needs. Whether testing for speed, handling, durability, efficiency, braking, or more, automotive OEMs, suppliers, researchers, and technology providers need a place to safely and securely test their technologies and products and prove their efficacy well before going to market.

This is precisely why in 2010, the leadership of the S.C. Technology & Aviation Center in Greenville, S.C. developed the brilliant idea of converting an old, abandoned airport runway and tarmac on its grounds into a sleek, convenient automotive test track. Officially called the International Transportation Innovation Center, ITIC was designed to accommodate any type of automotive testing need for any organization.

Recently, ITIC Executive Director Jody Bryson was a featured guest on the Upstate Mobility Alliance podcast. Tune in here as Jody explains why ITIC is unique, how it is used today, the latest developments that are underway, and how it will continue to support the state’s automotive industry and our economy well into the future.