Volvo kicked off a new era at its plant in Ghent, Belgium with the roll-off of the company’s first compact SUV, the XC40, completing Volvo’s SUV lineup that already includes the XC60 and XC90.
“This is a proud day for Ghent, the company and all our employees here,” said Volvo Cars chief executive and president Håkan 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. The XC40 represents a bright future for Ghent and for Volvo Cars.”
The plant underwent almost a complete overhaul in recent years, with an 8,000-square-metre expansion to the body shop, and the addition of 363 new robots.
The XC40 is the first product of Volvo’s new small car, Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), which was co-developed with Chinese manufacturer Geely (which also happens to be Volvo’s owner) and will form the base for all future models in the 40-Series (to also include S40 sedan and V40 wagon).
The XC40 will feature several powertrains, with North American units expected to use a new 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine making 244 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, and supplemented by a 32-kW electric motor, in keeping with Volvo’s plans to electrify its entire lineup.
The company has reportedly already received 13,000 orders for its 40-Series sport utility, Volvo’s entry in the small utility segment, which is the fastest growing segment in the industry. The XC40 is set to make its North American debut at next week's Los Angeles Auto Show, with deliveries to start early in 2018.