British-based Arkonik Ltd., a leader in creating custom Land Rover Defenders for American and Canadian clients, will establish its first U.S. facility and locate its North American headquarters in Charleston, South Carolina.
According to the Charleston Regional Development Alliance, established in 2006 and headquartered in the United Kingdom, Arkonik Ltd., specializes in the restoration and customization of Land Rover Defenders for customers all over the world. With a workforce of more than 70 at its Bath, England headquarters facility, Arkonik anticipates steady growth potential for its new Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) location in the City of Charleston in Berkeley County, South Carolina.
Arkonik SVO will serve as the company’s flagship operation for engine and transmission upgrades, Charleston officials said. Arkonik SVO has been developed for two reasons: to offer clients an array of upgrades appropriate for today’s Defender driver and to provide a physical presence in North America where clients can test drive the vehicles, meet the team, and discuss their custom options face to face. An electric vehicle platform is planned for 2021.
“Less than a year ago, within the foundry of Arkonik’s ambitions, a brand-new objective was cast: locate and develop a U.S. business hub from which to better serve our North American clients. Multiple prospective locations in various states were considered, visited, and then reviewed. In the final analysis, no other setting came close to offering the unique home we felt Charleston could provide. Arkonik is thrilled to call Charleston home,” said Arkonik Ltd. CEO Andy Hayes.
In January 2020, Arkonik secured a lease on a facility located at 2300 Clements Ferry Road in Berkeley County. The company suspended operations shortly thereafter due to COVID travel restrictions. With social distancing and safety protocols in place, renovations will begin immediately to accommodate a fully operational shop, and a customer design and delivery center. Arkonik SVO expects to hire 5 to 10 employees within the next five years, including mechanical and electrical technicians, and administrative support.
“South Carolina’s undeniable prowess in the manufacturing industry continues to help attract companies from around the world. We’re proud that Arkonik Ltd. selected Berkeley County to base its first North American operations. We welcome Arkonik SVO to South Carolina and look forward to watching them succeed in our state,” said SC Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt.
“Bringing new jobs and opportunities to Berkeley County, with limited impact on the County’s resources and infrastructure is an incredible win for the County and the region. Berkeley County welcomes Arkonik into the Country and especially our community. We look forward to working with this company for a successful future,” Berkeley County Supervisor Johnny Cribb noted.
“Charleston’s highly-skilled workforce, business-friendly climate, and globally-connected infrastructure like the Port of Charleston, influenced the company’s decision to locate here to better serve its customers. Arkonik SVO will be a tremendous asset to our growing automotive cluster,” Charleston Regional Development Alliance Board Chairman John Hagerty said.