Volvo Cars opened its first manufacturing plant in the U.S. near Charleston, South Carolina, as it expands its global manufacturing footprint beyond Europe and Asia for the first time.
Volvo officials said the establishment of the plant in South Carolina follows the company’s manufacturing strategy “to build where it sells.”
“The Charleston plant establishes the U.S. as our third ‘home’ market,” said Hakan Samuelsson, the president and chief executive of Volvo Cars. “The sedan segment and the SPA platform’s proven ability to boost profitability offer significant growth opportunities for Volvo Cars in the U.S. and globally.”
The Charleston plant is launching production of the new Volvo S60 premium midsize sports sedan based on the company’s “Scalable Product Architecture” platform during the fall of 2018. Starting in 2021, the plant will also build the next generation of the Volvo XC90 large premium SUV. Cars built are destined both for the domestic market in the U.S. and will be exported through the Port of Charleston to other markets around the world.
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The company’s first U.S. facility complements its two manufacturing plants and an engine plant in Europe as well as three car factories and an engine plant in China and assembly plants in India and Malaysia, Volvo officials said.
The Charleston plant will have the capacity to build plug-in hybrid cars at all of the car plants. In 2017, Volvo Cars was the first global car maker to announce its strategy that from 2018 all new models will be electrified.
(Click Here for a review of Volvo’s new 2019 V60 wagon.)
The Charleston plant can build 150,000 cars per year when operating at full capacity. The site occupies 1,600 acres and the building space covers 2.3 million square feet. Construction began in 2015. Daimler AG is building a new plant for assembling commercial vehicles and one of the BMW’s largest manufacturing plant is also located in South Carolina.
The new Charleston installation includes an office building for up to 300 staff from research and development, purchasing and sales.
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“The opening of our first American factory is a very big deal,” said Anders Gustafsson, president and CEO of Volvo Cars USA. “Our U.S. business is developing well, our cars have won prestigious award and the new South Carolina facility will be a big asset to both Volvo Cars and the community,” he added.