Volvos could be made in a Ford factory in Europe or elsewhere sometime by the second half of this decade if the car maker meets its sales goals, Automotive News Europe (ANE) reported.
Volvo remains on target to meet its goal of making 600,000 cars, said Hans-Olov Olsson, Volvo Cars president and CEO.
With the start of S40 production at Ghent, Volvo will have concentrated its high-volume products into two plants with total capacity of 500,000 units.
Ghent will have capacity for 270,000 units and Torslanda in Sweden for 230,000. Volvo also makes about 20,000 cars a year at Uddevalla, Sweden, and a handful of cars at ‘screwdriver plants’ [assembling CKD kits] in South Africa, Malaysia and Thailand.
The previous S40 and its V40 wagon sibling were made at Born, Netherlands, in the NedCar joint venture with Mitsubishi. The joint venture will continue operating until mid-2004 as Volvo staggers the launch of the new cars.
Once Volvo introduces another model, probably a small car, it will begin looking for another manufacturing site, Olsson said.
“The whole idea of common platforms is that we can move production easily,” Olsson said. “Over time we can move production from Volvo to Ford.”
The S40 shares Ford’s C1-technology, lower-medium platform with the Mazda3 and the Ford Focus C-Max. With the S40, Volvo will use Ford manufacturing and supply resources in Europe for the first time in a volume car.