Long known for their emphasis on safety, use of high-end materials, and impeccable build quality, cars wearing Volvo’s “ironmark” badge are expected to be a step above cars like Subarus and Hyundais. Later this year, Volvo will begin building a long wheelbase version of its popular S60 sedan called the S60L, which will show up on US shores as a 2015 model. That it will have enough high-end goodness to compete against the Acuras and Infinitis of the world is expected … what might be unexpected are three little words you’re bound to notice: Made in China.
That’s right, kids! This newest Volvo – along with the company’s upcoming 2015 Volvo XC90 – will be assembled in China before making a long voyage to the US. Part of the Chinese industrial group, Geely, Volvo is hoping to leverage its factory in the Chinese Middle Kingdom into an export hub that will service China (of course), along with Russia, South East Asia, and the Americas. The move is intended to safeguard Volvo pricing from currency risks associated with the Euro, with one executive quoted as saying, “the dollar and the yuan have the best relationship, a more stable relationship than the euro and the dollar.”
Volvo will be producing Chinese cars from two plants. One, in Chengdu, has been churning out S60L sedans since late last year, while the other, in Daqing, is ramping up for the introduction of the all-new 2015 Volvo XC90 SUV. The two plants are expected to be at full capacity soon, with a goal of getting production to 250,000 units/year by 2018.
If the “Made in China” Volvos are welcomed by American consumers (who, it should be noted, have had no problem with the Chinese-built Honda Fit, Turkish-built Ford Transit, or the Malaysian-built Mitsubishi Mirage), the move should allow Volvo dealers in the US to keep their pricing more in line with other competitors even as they add features and, eventually, new models … which means that we could see Chinese-made versions of the award-winning Volvo V40 and sold-out-in-Europe Volvo V60 diesel hybrid headed stateside as soon as the next generation of those cars bows – which will be right around that 2018 bogey, come to think of it!
Source: Paul Tan.