To build its first U.S. auto parts plant, Eldor Corp. zeroed in on Virginia as an ideal crossroads of land and sea.
Eldor, of Orsenigo, Italy, is a leading supplier of vehicle ignition coils in Europe, with four plants in Italy, Turkey, China and Brazil. But it had yet to set up shop in North America, and U.S. customers were beckoning.
Its $75 million investment in Botetourt County, in Virginia's Roanoke Valley, would allow the newcomer to reach customers easily by land. Eldor Corp. USA CEO Stefano Concezzi said the location also will help Eldor draw talent from two close-by universities: the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech.
But it also allowed Eldor project leaders to rely on the site's straight-shot proximity to the port at Norfolk, Va. Eldor needed to ship the new plant's entire production line from Italy.
That access was critical to getting the 350-worker plant built and open in 2018, said Concezzi. By May, plant construction was complete and testing underway, with commercial production to begin this summer, he said. Speed to market is vital for Eldor.
Botetourt County provided a performance-based grant of $1.3 million to support the project, and Virginia's Development Opportunity Fund granted $3.2 million. Other benefits came from the Port of Virginia Economic and Infrastructure Development Zone Grant Program, as well as worker-training funding from the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.