Carvana plans to open Alabama distribution hub, creating more than 450 jobs

Carvana plans to open Alabama distribution hub, creating more than 450 jobs
Carvana, an online used-car retailer, plans to open a $47 million distribution center in Bessemer that will employ more than 450 people. The company is also known for its auto vending machines. (Carvana)

Gov. Kay Ivey announced that Carvana, a leading e-commerce platform for buying and selling used cars, plans to invest more than $40 million to construct an Alabama distribution and fulfillment center, creating more than 450 jobs in Bessemer.

Carvana, the fastest-growing auto retailer in the U.S., plans to open the Jefferson County facility to strengthen its logistics network in the Southeast, which is integral to addressing the nationwide demand the online auto retailer is seeing for The New Way to Buy a Car.

“We have been working hard to position Alabama as a prime destination for fast-growing growing e-commerce companies needing a first-class infrastructure network for their distribution operations,” Ivey said.

“We are thrilled that Carvana has selected Bessemer for its newest state-of-the-art distribution hub and look forward to building a partnership with this innovative company.”

Carvana’s planned Bessemer hub will handle fulfillment activities for Alabama and surrounding states, and it will coordinate with similar facilities as the company moves inventory across the nation.

The center will also house inspection, maintenance and photography functions critical to delivering the customer experience Carvana has become known for.

A Carvana delivery truck transports a car bought online to a customer. The company announced this week that it will build a distribution hub in Bessemer. (Carvana)

Growth plans

The planned Carvana facility is to be constructed on a privately owned site in Bessemer, a former industrial center about 18 miles southwest of Birmingham. Carvana plans to invest more than $40 million to build and equip the facility.

The project should create more than 450 jobs with an average annual salary exceeding $35,000.

“Though Carvana is relatively young, its technology-focused model has powered rapid growth and made the company a growing force in the auto retailing industry,” said Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“I know that Carvana’s new, state-of-the-art facility in Bessemer will help the company continue to grow and sustain its rapid momentum.”

In as little as five minutes, customers can shop more than 15,000 vehicles on Carvana.com, finance, purchase, then select as-soon-as-next-day delivery or Car Vending Machine pickup. Customers shop from the comfort of home or on the go via their mobile device, saving valuable time and money by skipping the dealership.

Carvana vehicles are inspected, reconditioned and photographed in 360 degrees at its inspection centers, like the one planned in Bessemer, so customers get a detailed, high-definition virtual tour of every vehicle. Additionally, every vehicle comes with a seven-day return policy, so customers can live with a vehicle for a week and ensure it fits their lives.

Creating opportunities

Officials in Jefferson County welcomed Carvana’s decision to locate one of its newest distribution centers in Bessemer.

Carvana is the fastest-growing auto retailer in the United States. (Carvana)

“We’ve enjoyed tremendous success in Bessemer when it comes to recruiting companies to our city, whether it be Dollar General (distribution center) in 2011 or, most recently, Amazon,” Mayor Kenneth Gulley said.

“We’re tremendously excited about Carvana joining this growing list of companies, especially because Carvana will be creating jobs that will offer great wages and benefits that will afford residents of Bessemer an opportunity to work hard and provide a great life for their families.”

Jefferson County Commission President Jimmie Stephens said the Carvana project represents a milestone in the county’s economic development efforts.

“Adding 400 jobs in the Bessemer area in addition to Amazon is really changing the business landscape not just for Jefferson County but for the entire region,” Stephens said. “Carvana is a forward-looking company that is looking at the business of selling cars in a different way.”

Jeff Traywick, vice president of economic development for the Birmingham Business Alliance, said the metro area’s western region continues to see increased attention from companies in the e-commerce and logistics sectors.

“This project is further evidence that the area’s strong infrastructure, central location in the Southeastern United States and our quality workforce makes our region an excellent choice for companies looking to grow in the South,” Traywick said.

“We are excited about Carvana’s selection of Bessemer for this new facility and look forward to their continued success.”

This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.

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