You would think Michigan with the big three domestic auto manufacturers would export more vehicles out of the United States than South Carolina.
Well, you would be wrong.
South Carolina overtook Michigan last year and is the number one U.S. exporter of vehicles. Additionally, the Palmetto State was also the number one U.S. exporter of tires in 2011, according to the South Carolina Department of Commerce.
While the rest of the nation was struggling last year, South Carolina grew its exports an overall 21.4 percent, fueled by shipments of vehicles from BMW’s Greer, SC manufacturing plant and tires from major manufacturers Michelin and Bridgestone, accounting for 30% of all U.S. made exported tires.
“South Carolinians know how to make things – and we ship them the world over,” said SC Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt.
It’s a global world economy these days and South Carolina ranks 14th among states in exports.
And the export markets show remarkable diversity.
Germany was the state’s number one export market, followed by Canada, China, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Australia, India, Brazil, Japan and Saudi Arabia.
Two factors helping the business are the state’s ports, especially Charleston, and an interstate highway network that facilitates the transport of goods to Canada and Mexico.
It’s a strong argument for the legislature to ensure that the state’s struggling transportation infrastructure is adequately funded for repair, renovation and replacement.