South Carolina’s export sales soared to $37.3 Billion in 2023

Fueled by the automotive sector, South Carolina’s export sales defied national trends with $37.3 billion in 2023. Governor Henry McMaster and industry leaders weigh in on the state’s international trade performance.

Scout motors

The automotive industry led South Carolina’s exported goods in 2023. | Photo by @richlandcountysc

Did you know — South Carolina’s export sales soared to $37.3 billion in 2023, marking an 18% increase over the previous year’s figures? According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, as stated in a press release from the office of Governor Henry McMaster, US exports were down 2.2%.

The highlights

SC’s automotive industry emerged as the leading sector in the state’s exports + our state’s exports reached 211 countries in 2023.

SC’s top five exported commodities in 2023:

  • Completed passenger vehicles
  • Aircraft + parts
  • Machinery + mechanical appliances
  • Plastics
  • Rubber

Fun fact: For eight years in a row, our state was the national leader in the export of tires, with sales reaching $1.8 billion — representing 34.3% of the total US market share.

As of October 2023, SC produces ~144,000 tires a day. The S.C. Department of Commerce credits Michelin with the launch of the state’s globally recognized tire industry after coming to SC ~50 years ago + SC now has 12 manufacturing plants across the state.

Local automotives

Michelin’s Lexington County manufacturing site has been creating tires since Oct. 29, 1981, and has been in operation for over 40 years. Interested in working for Michelin? Check out 14 job openings at the Lexington County branch (2420 Two Notch Rd.).

You can’t talk about the automotive industry in SC without speaking about the recent addition of Scout Motors in the Midlands, which broke ground in February.

Here’s what this $2 billion investment means for the Midlands:

  • Scout vehicles will produce ~200,000 annually when the facility is at full production capacity + has the potential to create 4,000+ jobs.
  • Vehicle production is targeted to begin by the end of 2026, with the first retail sales of trucks and SUVs occurring soon thereafter.

Interested in other top industries + employers in the Columbia metro area? We’ve got a guide for you.