Thriving Automotive Industry Ecosystem

A diverse, steadily growing ecosystem of automotive manufacturers, innovators, and customers already thrives in Virginia, with ready access to specialized supply chains and a strong manufacturing base. The Commonwealth’s automotive companies span the entire value chain and all major industry sub-sectors, including manufacturers of auto parts and tires, vehicle assembly operations, and suppliers of parts, materials, and subcomponents, among others. 

Dynamic Center of Automotive Innovation

Virginia ranks 10th nationwide and 3rd in the Southeast in research spending in areas relevant to automotive manufacturing. In 2019 Virginia’s public universities invested more than $400 million in automotive research. Major automotive research centers include a Federal Highway Administration Highway Research Center; the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Vehicle Research Center; the Racing College of Virginia; and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) – a renowned center for transportation research, analysis, and development. Motorsports is a major contributor to automotive innovation, which has historical and cultural roots in Virginia. The VIRginia International Raceway and other facilities throughout the state serve as test sites for the automotive industry.

Perrone Robotics

Perrone Robotics is an autonomous vehicle company that offers a retrofit autonomy kit for existing vehicles as well as turn-key autonomous vehicles; the company provides services ranging from last-mile shuttles to logistics and work site operations.

Read the full case study

Torc Robotics

Torc Robotics was established in Blacksburg—at the birth of the self-driving vehicle revolution—by a team of Virginia Tech students who, after winning multiple robotics challenges, decided to commercialize their technology. The company has 15 years of experience in pioneering safety-critical, self-driving applications, as well as developing self-driving trucks with Daimler Trucks. While consumers dream of self-driving cars, industry leaders expect long-haul trucks will be the first vehicles to fully utilize the technology due to simpler driving environments and a stronger business case. Today, vehicles using Torc’s self-driving technology operate on multiple continents.

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), the second largest university-level transportation institute in the U.S., is committed to finding solutions to the greatest transportation challenges facing the world.

Virginia Smart Roads at VTTI

Virginia Smart Road is a state-of-the-art, closed test-bed research facility managed by VTTI in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Transportation and is proving ground for new transportation technologies including commercial vehicle logistic technologies. The facility offers 2.5 miles of roads, a reconfigurable urban setting, weather towers to create a variety of conditions, and light towers replicate most highway lighting conditions. Virginia Automated Corridors allow the testing of any automated vehicle on Virginia roads under the guidance of VTTI.

America’s Top State for Talent

Ranked No. 2 in the U.S. for education by CNBC, Virginia is home to almost 250,000 workers in the automotive industry and related occupations.

WalletHub_Best Public Schools in the South
SmartAsset_#2 Higher Ed_2022

A conversation with Mike Ownbey and J.B. Poindexter

Morgan Olson Testimonial

Morgan Olson Steps into Southern Virginia

In 2019, Morgan Olson, North America’s leading manufacturer of all-aluminum walk-in step vans, announced the transformation of a 925,000-square-foot former furniture manufacturing plant in Ringgold, Virginia into a state-of-the-art automotive manufacturing facility. Through the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program, Danville Community College is partnering with Morgan Olson to train skilled workers in the region on the company’s advanced processes and procedures, ensuring a steady flow of talent for years to come.

Read the full case study

Strategic Location that Enables Global Connectivity

Virginia’s central location provides access to major hubs of economic activity along the Northeast corridor, across the Southeast, and throughout the Midwest. Virginia is also ideally positioned for the export and import of automotive products.

Location Map

World-Class Logistics Infrastructure

A dense network of roads, railways, ports, and airports allows for easy worldwide interconnectivity and efficient operational logistics. Virginia is covered by the second-densest roadway and railway networks in the Southeast and served by the third-largest port on the East Coast. Port facilities include four deep-water terminals in Hampton Roads, the inland Richmond Marine Terminal, and the Virginia Inland Port. In 2024, after completion of a $1.4 billion modernization and expansion project, The Port of Virginia will be the East Coast’s deepest port and one of the most advanced in the world.

2nd densest roadway and railway networks

Second densest roadway and railway networks in the Southeast

3,000 miles of railways

Three thousand miles of railways (anchored by Class I railroads CSX and Nor folk Southern)

300k+ tons

Three-hundred thousand tons of air cargo handled annually by Washington Dulles International Airport

America's Top State For Business

Virginia is consistently ranked as a top location for business, and boasts a stable pro-business climate. Virginia is a right-to-work state with the 5th-lowest unionization rate in the U.S. at 5.5%.

Ranking Top Regulatory Environment
Businesss Facilities_#2_Business Climate_2022
Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., Fairfax County

Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., Fairfax County

A Welcoming Business Climate for Manufacturers

  • Virginia is the northernmost right-to-work state along the I-95 Corridor.
  • Virginia has had a stable 6% corporate income tax rate, one of the lowest in the nation, since 1972.
  • Sound economic policy and prudent financial management has earned Virginia a AAA credit rating since 1938 — longer than any other state.
  • Industrial users paid an average rate of 6.42 cents per kilowatt-hour in the winter of 2020, well below the national average of 6.61 cents per kilowatt-hour.
  • Virginia has a low natural disaster risk and is tied No. 4 among ‘States Most Prepared for a Disaster,’ according to 24/7 Wall Street.
  • With 450+ fully characterized development sites of 25 acres or larger, dozens of certified sites, and a growing inventory of spec buildings and virtual buildings, Virginia is constantly working to improve its portfolio of real estate options for food and beverage processing firms.

Automotive Industry in Virginia

View our brochure