Volvo Cars, the premium car maker, yesterday inaugurated its first US manufacturing plant, in Charleston, South Carolina, establishing the company as a truly global car manufacturer with plants in all three major sales regions.
The establishment of a state-of-the-art production facility in South Carolina follows Volvo Cars’ global manufacturing strategy, ‘Build where you sell.’
The company’s first US facility complements its two manufacturing plants and an engine plant in Europe, three car factories and an engine plant in China, and assembly plants in India and Malaysia.
The Charleston plant starts production of the new Volvo S60 premium mid-size sports sedan, based on the company’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform, in the fall of 2018. From 2021, the factory will also build the next generation of the Volvo XC90 large premium SUV. Cars built at the plant are destined both for the domestic US market and international export.
“The Charleston plant establishes the US as our third home market,” said Håkan Samuelsson, 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 US and globally.”
Volvo Cars is investing around USD 1.1 billion in its US manufacturing operations and will create around 4,000 new jobs at the Charleston site over the 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 2.3 million square feet. Construction on the facility broke ground in 2015.
The company will build plug-in hybrid cars at all of its car plants globally. In 2017 Volvo Cars was the first global car maker to announce its strategy that from 2019 all new models will be electrified.