Gov. Nikki Haley already has her car picked out for that day when she trades in her state government license plate for a private-citizen tag.
“On the way from the airport, I was driven in a beautiful Volvo XC90 and I texted my husband and said, ‘When I am able to drive again, this is my next new car’,” Haley said during Volvo Cars’ event last week at Charles Towne Landing. The event was held to announce the automaker’s plans to build a $500 million manufacturing facility in Berkeley County.
Maybe it was the heady atmosphere of Thursday’s gala. Or maybe it was the new car smell. Whatever the reason, Haley told a crowd of about 100 invited guests that she was overwhelmed by Volvo’s new luxury SUV, which has all the bells and whistles of most top-of-the-line models and can even drive itself under speeds of 30 mph. The XC90 is billed as Volvo’s comeback car, and it debuts at a time when the Swedish company is looking to re-establish its brand in America.
A review in USA Today states the SUV is “loaded with technology and even a little swagger.”
Swagger isn’t exactly what sold Haley’s husband, Michael, on the car.
The First Gentleman’s response to his wife’s text was: “Good, at least it’s a safe car.”
“I don’t think he trusts my driving very much,” Haley said.
The S.C. Agriculture Department is borrowing a page from the Chick fil-A marketing playbook as it heads across the pond to attend a budding U.K. trade show.
In this instance, the tagline might be, “Eat more perishables.”
The state agency will have a booth at this week’s London Produce Show and Conference that will be staffed by the boss himself, Commissioner Hugh Weathers. He’ll be joined by Sonny Dickinson, the agency’s assistant director of retail and food service marketing, according to a report posted on perishablenews.com.
One goal for the two-person Palmetto State delegation is to seek ways to boost overseas sales of peaches and other South Carolina-grown fruits and vegetables to consumers in Europe and the Middle East.
South Carolina already is a big overseas exporter of poultry, which is No. 2 in outbound agricultural shipments behind cotton.
“The London Produce Show is a discovery mission for us to move beyond the protein and find export opportunities for fresh produce, such as peaches, watermelon, leafy greens and other fruit and vegetable products,” Dickinson said in a report posted on the industry website.
South Carolina’s pitch to buyers will likely touch on plans to deepen Charleston Harbor so it can accommodate bigger cargo ships and the construction of a new shipping terminal at the old Navy base.
The produce show takes place Wednesday through Friday at the Grosvenor House in the Mayfair section of London. The inaugural event drew 1,100 visitors from 45 nations, according to organizers.
From large health care providers and road construction contractors to small mom-and-pop shops, a new state website provides a quick and easy way to see which firms receive the most tax dollars through their business dealings with state government.
The Fiscal Transparency Website, part of www.cg.sc.gov is the product of Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom’s office.
Reports for fiscal years 2012 through 2014 show annual payment totals to all vendors who received $1,000 or more in a year. The site is: www.cg.sc.gov/fiscaltransparency/Pages/hightestpaidvendors.aspx.
“These reports give South Carolina taxpayers, reporters and everyone else valuable information about the state’s business relationships,” Eckstrom says. “The payment totals can be used to make comparisons and conduct research, providing greater transparency in this important area of public spending.”
Also on the website, Eckstrom’s office recently added a link to flight logs and manifests maintained by the S.C. Aeronautics Commission. The logs and manifests provide the names of passengers and their justification for flying on state-owned airplanes.
The website is not costing Eckstrom’s office any more money. He is using existing resources and staff to maintain it.
Car dealers can’t display their cars at airports under state law, but there is nothing to prevent manufacturers from doing that.
In the Upstate, BMW parks its product at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport. One day, passengers may find a Volvo product greeting them at Charleston International, the state’s busiest airport, according to Airports Director Paul Campbell.
Volvo Cars plans to build a $500 million auto-manufacturing plant in Berkeley County on Interstate 26 near Exit 187. The first one will come off the assembly line in 2018.
With the airport terminal in disarray from all the construction related to expansion and renovation and the first American-made Volvo still years away, it might be a while before a car is parked at the airport, but Campbell said it will happen.
The Federal Aviation Administration recently inspected Charleston International Airport for everything from runways and lighting to recordkeeping.
“We received a perfect score,” Airports Director Paul Campbell said.
He said the inspection ran so smoothly that the FAA official completed in one day what usually takes three. “That’s unusual,” Campbell added.