VIRGINIA BEACH, VA-STIHL Inc. has begun construction of a new 60,000-square-foot Virginia Beach manufacturing facility, part of a continuing $78.4 million capital investment program expected to add approximately 400 new jobs to the region.

"We are pleased to be able to continue to add jobs here in support of the local and national economies in lieu of outsourcing," says Fred Whyte, president of STIHL Inc. "Although we export to over 80 countries, the United States is still the largest single market for our products. Consequently, expanding manufacturing here in Virginia Beach has repeatedly proven to be a sound business decision for STIHL."

The factory in Virginia Beach is part of a widespread network of STIHL production facilities in Brazil, Switzerland, Austria, Germany and China. STIHL Group (Waiblingen, Germany), which employees approximately 9,000 worldwide, recently opened plants in China and Switzerland. The company has had a presence in Virginia Beach since 1974, where it now employs approximately 1,700.

"The new plants in China and Switzerland and the expansion of our own facility in the United States play a key role in optimizing STIHL's global locations strategy, and in strengthening the competitiveness of the entire STIHL Group" Whyte says. "In the past year, encouraging growth in virtually all of the STIHL group's markets boosted STIHL employment worldwide by almost 9 percent.... We have been very fortunate to hire quality personnel from other areas of the United States where the economy has caused manufacturing shutdowns and layoffs."