The assembly line creeps along at a glacial pace. For the next few months, the workers at the sprawling plant on the outskirts of the Sichuanese capital of Chengdu will be carefully trained before the first cars actually roll into Chinese showrooms.
But eventually, if all goes according to plan, the factory will be running at a frantic rate. Long little more than an after-thought in the global luxury market, Volvo Cars has ambitions to challenge more established brands like Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
At least, that’s the goal set by Geely which purchased the Swedish maker from Ford Motor Co. three years ago. The ambitious Chinese conglomerate plans to invest at least $6 billion to rebuild Volvo, completely updating its product line-up and adding new plants to produce them, starting with the factory in Chengdu and another in China’s Northeast industrial belt.