Gov. Jim Hunt and General Motors Corporation announced the creation of 1,000 new jobs in North Carolina to staff a call center operation for OnStar, the vehicle safety, security, and information service.
The new facility in Charlotte will serve OnStar subscribers in the United States and Canada and will begin operation in the spring of 2000. Initial employment is expected to be about 200 advisors, and the OnStar Center will be fully staffed by the end of the year.
OnStar uses Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite technology and wireless communication to link the driver and the vehicle to the OnStar Center, where advisors are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to offer real-time, personalized help.
"GM knows North Carolina, and its decision to expand here is a great example of the strong business reputation for which our state is known," Gov. Hunt said. "GM is seeking a quality workforce, and our citizens are eager for high-tech jobs with a future. It's a perfect match."
"We are pleased to announce that our first OnStar Center outside Michigan will be located in North Carolina," said Chet Huber, general manager, OnStar.
"Our research revealed that this area offers the skilled workforce and positive operating environment required to deliver the quality of service our subscribers demand."
OnStar's customer base will experience rapid growth from the current level of 100,000 subscribers to nearly one million by the end of next year. GM recently announced that OnStar service is standard on selected cars and trucks for the 2000 model year.
OnStar safety and security services include automatic notification of airbag deployment, emergency services, stolen vehicle tracking, remote door unlock, remote vehicle diagnostics, and roadside assistance. Convenience services offer everything from finding ATM locations and route assistance to arranging hotel and restaurant reservations.
OnStar's commitment to North Carolina is the latest in a string of recent moves increasing GM's presence in the state. In August, GM opened a new 352,000-square-foot parts distribution center at 10815 Quality Drive in Charlotte employing about 145 hourly and 22 salaried employees. The center's lean warehousing methods allow GM to stock, track, and ship more than 70,000 different types of parts quickly and efficiently. Each day the center fills orders for 22,500 lines or part numbers for delivery to 640 dealerships across the Southeastern United States.
"GM Service Parts Operations is very pleased to be part of the Charlotte community," said Raymond Kenny, manager of the SPO Charlotte parts distribution center. "Our decision to locate our PDC in Charlotte was the result of a comprehensive logistics study. The review indicated Charlotte's strategic location was ideal to service GM dealerships in the Southeastern United States. In addition, this new PDC is part of our efforts to be common, lean and fast to market. We also believe the Charlotte area is an excellent place for our employees to live and work, and we're proud to be members of the community."
Previously, GM's most notable commitment to North Carolina was the decision by Saturn Corporation in 1998 to locate the headquarters of its Saturn Retail Enterprises subsidiary in Charlotte. Saturn Retail Enterprises, which is scheduled to become a separate and independent company in the near future, operates or helps to operate 44 Saturn retail facilities in 13 states.
David Collins, vice president and general counsel of Saturn Retail Enterprises, said, "We appreciate the cooperative spirit that North Carolina's political leadership has demonstrated. Saturn Retail Enterprises early on recognized North Carolina's commitment to a healthy business climate and the quality of life advantages the state offers for a company's employees.
Charlotte is proving to be an ideal location for our growing company to put down its roots. It doesn't surprise us at all that our friends from OnStar and GM Service Parts Operations have also come to recognize North Carolina's attractions."
Edited by Kathe Archibald