On February 19, Textron Specialized Vehicles, a division of Textron, Inc., parent company of EZGO, announced that it has struck a deal to purchase a new manufacturing plant and 235 acres of land from Procter & Gamble Co.
The facility is located where the Mike Padgett Highway meets Marvin Griffin Road in the southern portion of Augusta, Georgia, the same city where Textron Specialized Vehicles is headquartered and EZGO golf buggies are made.
New Facility Augments Current Operations
The new facility is comprised of both manufacturing and administrative space totaling 600,000 square feet in area, and it will be used by Textron Specialized Vehicles to augment its current operations in Augusta, including the production of EZGO golf buggies. New offices and manufacturing processes will go into the plant, which is only about one mile distant from the current headquarters.
Textron Specialized Vehicles has been located in Augusta ever since Textron Inc. purchased the original manufacturer of EZGO golf buggies in 1954, and today, it is responsible for manufacturing more than 90 models of golf carts, low-speed vehicles (LSVs), neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) and utility task vehicles (UTVs) for consumer, commercial and industrial uses. A few of the other top brands united under the banner of Textron Specialized Vehicles are Cushman, Bad Boy, Douglas and TUG, and most of them are manufactured or assembled in Augusta.
“This expansion will enable our company to rapidly increase its manufacturing throughput and flexibility to meet the growing needs, desires and demands of our different customers, from individual consumers to commercial enterprises,” said Kevin Holleran, president of Textron Specialized Vehicles.
Local and State Governments Facilitate Purchase
The amount to be paid for the expansion is more than $40 million, according to Textron Specialized Vehicles, but the company is receiving help from several government agencies. The first of these is the Augusta Economic Development Authority, which issued $20 million in revenue bonds that are backed by a payment agreement with the company. These funds will be used to pay Proctor & Gamble and for capital improvements required for the manufacture of vehicles.
“Textron Specialized Vehicles’ decision to expand its Augusta facility is continued proof of Georgia’s great infrastructure for manufacturing,” said Walter Sprouse, executive director of the Augusta Economic Development Authority. “The Augusta Economic Development Authority was excited to be a part in the organization’s expansion decision and to assist, as always, with the creation of new jobs in the Augusta area.”
The State of Georgia provided help to Textron Specialized Vehicles not only because of the $40 million investment in Augusta but also on a promise that 400 new jobs would be created. The specific help given to the company includes a $600,000 project-development grant and $1.6 million in job-training services, which will be provided by the Georgia Quick Start program. In exchange, Textron Specialized Vehicles has five years to create the required number of jobs and complete its $40 million investment. Currently, the company employs about 1,000 Georgia residents, and its workforce has steadily grown by 13 percent each year.
“The decision of Textron Specialized Vehicles to expand its existing headquarters in Augusta reinforces the advantages of Georgia’s business resources for a leading company looking to expand operations,” said Georgia Governor Nathan Deal. “Our commitment to job creation and economic development is evident in the number of companies who’ve expanded or relocated here. We welcome Textron Specialized Vehicles’ continued growth and feel that Georgia’s economic environment will be of major benefit to the growing company.”
Two of the major contributors to the partnership between Georgia and Textron Specialized Vehicles are representatives of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) Region 7: Adela Kelley, who is a senior project manager representing the Global Commerce division and Commissioner Chris Carr.
“We are extremely pleased that Textron Specialized Vehicles has chosen to expand their operation in Augusta,” said Carr. “Of the 329 projects located in Georgia, existing industry accounted for 75 percent of total investment to the state and 63 percent of total jobs created. We look forward to working with our local partners in Augusta to continue supporting them in their future growth.”
“We are fortunate to be able to facilitate such expansion in our hometown and are thankful for the assistance of the Augusta Economic Development Authority, the Georgia Department of Economic Development and our city and state officials to bring this project to fruition,” said Holleran in conclusion. “The city of Augusta, the surrounding region and the state of Georgia have been valuable partners for our company since its earliest days, so we are proud and pleased to build on our legacy as one of the area’s most lasting and vibrant manufacturers.”