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U.S. Expansion of a Medium-Sized Tier 1 Automotive Supplier

Case Study Site Selection

Challenge

In June 2015, the LINDE & WIEMANN SE & CO. KG engaged Navigator Consulting to lead the company’s search for a new production facility in the Southeast of the USA.

The client is a global leader in producing and supplying structural chassis components to the automotive industry that improve vehicle safety and simultaneously reduce its weight. In order to deliver recently won contracts the client had to quickly expand its production capacity on the North American market, which required a tight project timeline for the site search. The urgency posed strict requirements to the immediate development potential of the future site, which should become the client’s new home for generations to come and offer long-term growth opportunities. The geographical location of the future site had to ensure efficient logistics with respect to an existing customer base and at the same time enable the client to build its business and efficiently serve prospective clients in the Southern USA.

 

Consulting Approach and Project Management

In order to meet the ambitious project objective to start production in June of 2016 and yet not compromise the site search’s standard of excellence and rigor, Navigator Consulting customized its site selection approach to the client’s requirements.

The initially conducted strategic analysis highlighted the potential of South Carolina and Georgia and narrowed the focus down to communities along the I-85 corridor. Based on a detailed company questionnaire, LINDE & WIEMANN and Navigator Consulting quickly agreed on the project requirements and prioritization of selection criteria.

This approach to thoroughly defining the fundamentals of the project allowed for quick and effective communications and involvement of project stakeholder and prevented potential bottlenecks down the road. Under the codename “Ironside”, the consultants anonymously and confidentially engaged with local decision-makers to identify suitable site and building options. Navigator Consulting’s fundamental analysis and property benchmarking assessed each property’s quality and development potential, the business environment and operating costs and reduced the initial number of 42 properties to a long list of 10.

In the following six weeks, together with the clients, the project team conducted two rounds of site visits to all long-listed properties in order to assess each option’s quality and feasibility and to build relationships with local economic development decision-makers. As a result, the long list was reduced two finalists. On behalf of and in the best interest of the client, Navigator Consulting commenced negotiations with both communities. A proven checklist helped to ensure a flawless evaluation of each finalist’s development roadmap, including aspects such as responsibilities, financing and timelines.

 

Result

Eventually, the client found that a new location in Hartwell, GA would offer the most successful platform to grow. Navigator Consulting’s holistic approach to site selection and an efficient project timeline enabled the project team to swiftly identify a high-quality property offering a direct connection to I-85.

Due to the unique project requirements, no suitable existing building could be identified but the site search yielded a suitable shovel-ready building pad and the project team was able to negotiate an attractive “build-to-suit” option. Georgia State and the community of Hartwell, GA agreed to support LINDE + WIEMANN with direct incentives of more than $15 million and tax reliefs of more than $65 million over a time period of fife years. The company’s investment promises to create 200 high-quality jobs in Northern Georgia.

Key Facts

  • LINDE & WIEMANN SE & Co. KG
  • Medium-Sized Tier 1 Automotive Supplier
  • New location in Hartwell, GA
  • Direct incentives $15m plus
  • Tax reliefs $65m over five years
  • 200 high-quality jobs