BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Not so many years ago, the Southeastern U.S. was largely off the map of the North American auto industry. But over the past three decades, states in that region have attracted — and continue to attract — billions in auto manufacturing and supply chain project investments. At a gathering of the multistate Southern Automotive Conference here, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, 77, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, 47, and South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, 74, sat together to talk about the growth of the industry in the South, with News Editor Lindsay Chappell moderating their discussion. These are edited excerpts.
Q: Each of your states has been enormously successful in attracting auto industry investment where none used to be. What made that happen?
A: Ivey: We in Alabama are proud of our work. We're a right-to-work state, and our people want to work and provide for their families. In Alabama, we customize incentive packages resources. We have a work force that operates in a business-friendly environment.