Volvo plans U.S. plant expansion, doubling original investment, reports say


Volvo Cars is doubling investment in its first U.S. plant, which is under construction, to add a second production line at a total cost of $1 billion, a source with knowledge of the plans told Reuters, as the carmaker heads for a fourth straight year of record global sales.
The move to raise capacity even before completion of the plant in Charleston, S.C., will ultimately add 2,500 workers to the 2,000 already being recruited by the Swedish carmaker ahead of its 2018 opening, the source said.
A Volvo spokeswoman declined to comment. The increased investment was first reported by Charleston’s Post and Courier newspaper. The plant is slated to produce the redesigned S60 sedan, with Job One moving next summer. A second vehicle still to be announced, the report said. The newspaper also reported that a press conference is set for Sept. 25 to announce the expanded project. Officials declined further comment.
The second line will call for a $500 million investment on the site near Interstate 26 in Ridgeville, S.C. The newspaper said Volvo plans to build roughly 60,000 cars per year — about 60 percent for export.
The Berkeley County Council on Monday agreed to $3.5 million in economic incentives for the project, the newspaper reported.
The Charleston plant expansion is a vote of confidence in Volvo’s sales momentum, buoyed by a revamped lineup led by the flagship XC90 crossover, even as U.S. auto market growth tails off.
Volvo is rapidly expanding its product lineup and manufacturing base as it aims for 800,000 global light-vehicle sales by 2020 — 50 percent more than last year’s record total. Global sales through August this year rose 8.7 percent to 359,798, even as U.S. deliveries slipped 7.2 percent to 49,066 units — a shortfall that the automaker said will be made up by the end of the year.
Since Li Shufu’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. bought the company from Ford Motor Co. in 2010, Volvo has been moving quickly to adapt to changes in the industry. Long known for passenger safety, it’s become a leader in driver-assistance systems and autonomous-vehicle development. In July, the Gothenburg, Sweden-based automaker committed to eventually converting its lineup to all hybrid or electric powertrains.
Reuters, Bloomberg 
Fuente: Automotive News