Production at the 150,000-unit Charleston factory starts in autumn 2018

Production at the 150,000-unit Charleston factory starts in autumn 2018

View 1 related image

Geely's Volvo Cars on Wednesday (20 June) inaugurated its first US manufacturing plant, in Charleston, South Carolina.

The automaker said this makes it "truly global... with plants in all three major sales regions".

The new factory is part of Volvo Cars' global manufacturing strategy 'Build where you sell'.

Charleston, soon to start building the S60 sedan, complements two car factories in Sweden and Belgium plus an engine plant in Sweden, three car factories and an engine plant in China, and assembly plants in India and Malaysia.

Volvo has previously assembled cars from CKD kits at two plants in Canada.

The S60 is built on the company's Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform and goes into US production this autumn.

From 2021, the factory will also build the next generation XC90 large premium SUV. Cars built at the plant are destined both for the US market and export.

"The Charleston plant establishes the US as our third home market," said Hakan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars.

"The saloon segment and the SPA platform's proven ability to boost profitability offer significant growth opportunities for [us] in the US and globally."

The automaker is spending around US$1.1bn on its US manufacturing operations which will create around 4,000 new jobs at the Charleston site in coming years.

Approximately 1,500 staff will be employed by the end of this year.

"The opening of our first American factory is a very big deal," said Anders Gustafsson, president and CEO of Volvo Car USA.

"Our US business is developing well, our cars have won prestigious awards, and the new South Carolina facility will be a big asset to both Volvo Cars and the community."

The new Charleston facility includes an office building for up to 300 staff from R&D, purchasing, quality and sales. The plant can produce 150,000 cars per year at full capacity. The site occupies 1,600 acres and the building space covers 2.3m square feet. Construction broke ground in 2015.

The company eventually will build plug-in hybrid cars at all of its car plants worldwide.

In 2017, it was the first global car maker to announce that, from 2019, all new models would be electrified.

Auto market intelligence
from just-auto

• Auto component fitment forecasts
• OEM & tier 1 profiles & factory finder
• Analysis of 30+ auto technologies & more