Volvo has already built preproduction XC40s for advance media drives and other promotional activity

Volvo has already built preproduction XC40s for advance media drives and other promotional activity

Volvo Cars' first saleable XC40 SUV came off the line at the assembly plant in Ghent, Belgium today (22 November).

The new XC40, for which the company has already received more than 13,000 orders, is Volvo Cars' first small premium SUV. The first customers will take delivery early next year.

The model paves the way for continued sales and revenue growth for the company and completes Volvo's global SUV line-up.

"This is a proud day for Ghent, the company and all our employees here," said Volvo president and CEO Hakan Samuelsson. "Our people have put in long days and many hours to prepare the plant for the start of XC40 production and they have done a great job."

Unlike the larger XC60 and XC90 built on Volvo's Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA), the XC40 is the first model on the new modular small car platform, the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), which will underpin all future 40 series cars. The platform, developed with parent company Geely, will provide synergies and economies of scale for the small premium car segment.

Preparations for the production start of the XC40 in Ghent have been ongoing for a long time. Considerable investments in recent years have transformed the Ghent plant into a global export hub for CMA-based cars, including an 8,000 square metre addition to the body shop.

A total of 363 new robots have been installed, including one which has been nicknamed 'the beast' by Ghent employees. This large robot, unique within the automaker's global manufacturing system, is used to lift lower car bodies to a conveyor belt close to the ceiling of the plant.

Ghent is one of two car manufacturing plants operated by Volvo Cars in Europe and has produced cars since 1965. Until recently it produced the first generation of the best-selling XC60 mid-size SUV and also builds the V40 and V40 Cross Country small hatchbacks as well as the S60 and V60.

Volvo Cars' other European plant is located in Torslanda in its home country Sweden. The company also operates two vehicle manufacturing plants in China, while a US plant is under construction in the state of South Carolina and slated for opening in the second half of 2018.

Auto market intelligence
from just-auto

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