Carvana: On the road to Concord

Aug. 29. Carvana, the e-commerce platform for buying and selling used cars, officially announced plans to open a $30 million inspection and reconditioning facility in the old Philip Morris plant in Concord.

Over the course of a dozen years, the Carvana investment is expected to grow the state economy by half a billion dollars and 413 new jobs.

Gov. Roy Cooper said the Cabarrus workforce is a major reason why thge Arizona company chose to grow and invest here. Carvana’s Car Vending Machines forgo the traditional dealership infrastructure that allows consumers to shop online. The new facility brings the inspection, reconditioning, photographing and storage process to a centralized site for the Carolinas.

The procedure includes a 150-point inspection and a photography process using high-definition cameras and patented, proprietary technology.

Carvana calls it “The New Way to Buy a Car.”

Used cars aren’t beaters any more, so the business is hot. It only stood to reason that a company could essentially roll up the industry—again—with the help of technology.​ Its stock has soared ​more than ​600​ percent ​since its ​IPO in 2017.

Carvana​’s ​“car vending machine​s​” ​stand​​​​ eight stories tall and hold 30 vehicles​.​ In as little as 10 minutes, customers can shop more than 15,000 vehicles on the site, finance, purchase, trade in, and schedule as-soon-as-next-day pickup at ​a vending site or home delivery of that vehicle.

Carvana’s new location here in Concord provides access to half the U.S. population within a day’s drive from North Carolina, simplifying the logistical equation.

Although wages will vary depending on position, the average individual, annual salary for the new positions are estimated to reach more than $38,000, in line with the Cabarrus County average wage.

Carvana will get a Job Development Investment Grant from the state.

The old Philip Morris site was more recently the site of Alevo, a battery maker which operated ​​briefly out of the Philip Morris ​plant before declar​ing​ bankruptcy in 2017. Only a few months earlier the company had announced a major expansion with 200 new jobs​ with the help of government incentives.​

Alevo​ made​ large battery storage unit​s ​called a Gridbank​, which​ could be recharged ​multiple times.

It was a big change from cigarette manufacturing. Philip Morris ​was a mainstay of the Cabarrus economy until 2007 when it announced plans to close the 2,100-acre campus​.

It had more than 3.5 million square feet of manufacturing and warehouse space, much of which has been torn down to help market the property.

Partnering with the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the EDPNC on this project were the North Carolina Community College System, Cabarrus County, the City of Concord and Cabarrus Economic Development.




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