Hundreds of jobs coming to Newport News

Gov. Terry McAuliffe makes an economic announcement about the expansion of Continental in Newport News, Va. Aug. 26, 2014. (WAVY/Andy Fox)

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – Governor Terry McAuliffe was in Hampton Roads Tuesday, with a big economic development for Newport News – new jobs, hundreds of them.

McAuliffe ran his successful campaign on economic development, and he lives for days like Tuesday. He announced Continental Automotive — one of the world’s leading automotive suppliers — plans to invest $150 million to expand its operations in Newport News.

Newport News and Mexico competed head-to-head for the project, and it’s a major move in diversification away from a military dependent economy. It will bring about 500 jobs to the Peninsula.

“The company’s decision to expand in Newport News is a great testament to the Commonwealth’s business climate and the key global access provided by the Port of Virginia,” Governor McAuliffe said.

The $150 million will go primarily to start up production of turbochargers. This is the first time turbochargers will be produced in America by Continental. The company will also increase production of its gasoline high-pressure injector and fuel rail and pump assembly lines.

The Commonwealth is also investing about $7 million in the project, including a $2 million grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund.

“Our continued investment in this facility was due in a large part to the strong support of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the city of Newport News,” said Jeff Klei, president of Continental Automotive. “We truly appreciate your efforts to help us expand our operation and bring hundreds of jobs to this great state.”

Exactly how important is this announcement? Well, it really affects the majority of Hampton Roads. Currently, the area’s economy depends primarily on the military, and with sequestration, it faces the risk of defense contract cuts. Northern Virginia’s economy has taken a major hit after losing $9 billion in defense contract cuts over the last three years. But Governor McAuliffe says projects like the one with Continental will bring about a “new Virginia economy.”

“It is a big deal. It is one of our major employers, it is a tremendous deal to Newport News to continue to see companies continue to reinvest here,” said Florence Kingston with the Newport News Department of Development.

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