LEXINGTON, NC (WGHP) – Siemens, a huge international manufacturer of a broad range of products, has chosen Davidson County as the place it will build and maintain rail cars for the eastern half of the United States.

Siemens Mobility is expanding its rail operation beyond a facility in Sacramento, California, and investing $200 million to manufacture and service rail cars in Lexington.

Visitors look at a projection of a Velaro Novo a high-speed train made by German industrial giant Siemens. (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP via Getty Images)

The North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Economic Investment Committee on Tuesday morning approved state grants of approximately $16.8 million that will go with grants from the city and county to total $33 million being spent to lure Siemens.

Gov. Roy Cooper visited Lexington today for a formal announcement.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper waves as he leaves the House chamber after delivering his State of the State address on Monday night. (Travis Long/The News & Observer via AP)

“Leading global companies like Siemens Mobility continue to choose North Carolina to build the next generation in innovative clean transportation,” he said in a statement released before the presentation. “Thanks to our state’s skilled workforce, and the proven education and training systems that help people maintain and build those skills, North Carolina is the number one state for manufacturing.”

The company plans to hire 506 employees between 2025 and 2028 at an average minimum wage of $51,568. By 2036, the project is expected to add $1.6 billion to the state’s gross domestic product and $30.3 million in new tax revenue.

Siemens, a German company with U.S. headquarters in Washington, D.C., has product lines in technology, energy, healthcare, industrial automation and software, among many others that are produced globally. The company reported earnings of 72 billion euros in 2022, the EIC was told.

Passengers leave a commuter train. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Siemens says it works in both passenger and freight rail transportation, providing “trains, infrastructure, automation and electrification solutions, turnkey systems as well as related services … for trams, light rail, metro, commuter and regional trains, high-speed and very high-speed trains.”

The company said that increased demand had inspired it to invest in a facility east of the Mississippi River. Davidson County beat out Spartanburg County in South Carolina to win the bid, with officials citing existing rail service, labor market, road access and cost of construction as the keys to that decision.

“After four decades of manufacturing trains in America and on behalf of all 4,000 Siemens Mobility employees in the U.S., we are excited to announce that we will expand to our new east coast hometown in Lexington, North Carolina,” Marc Buncher, CEO of Siemens Mobility North America, said in the release. “Now is the moment in time for rail in America and this facility supports our strategy to grow in close proximity to our customers as well as provide us with the added capacity needed to push the boundaries of innovation.”

State Rep. Larry Potts (R-Lexington) (NCGA)
State Sen. Steve Jarvis (R-Lexington)

The $16.8 million in state grants approved by the EIC include $5.636 for a Job Development Investment Grant, which is tied to employee growth, $9.4 million from the NC DOT and $1 million from the North Carolina Railroad. Davidson County is chipping in $7.7 million, and Lexington will contribute $8.4 million.

State Sen. Steve Jarvis (R-Lexington) said the announcement “makes us very proud indeed,” and state Rep. Larry Potts (R-Lexington) added in the release that “economic development projects of this scale require a great deal of collaboration between many people and organizations, both in the local area and across the state.”