Would you buy a Volvo made in China? You’ll soon have that opportunity on a broader scale. Volvo was the first western automaker to export a premium Chinese-made car to the U.S. in 2015 with its S60 Inscription model. Now it plans to expand its export capacity to include the S90.
In 2010, Zhejiang Geely Holding (Geely Holding) of China acquired the Swedish Volvo Group from Ford Motor Company. While Volvo Cars head office, product development, marketing and administration functions remain primarily in Gothenburg, the company has gradually added production capability in China.
Now Volvo has unveiled a new manufacturing strategy for China that will see production capacity there increased with Chinese operations developed into a global manufacturing and export hub, servicing the North American, European and Asia Pacific regions.
The top-of-the-range Volvo S90-series cars, based on the company’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), will be built at the company’s plant in Daqing, Heilongjiang province, in northern China. Production of the new S90 premium sedan will be moved from Europe to China at some as-yet unspecified time in the future.
Current and future 60-series medium-sized SPA-based cars will be built in Chengdu, Szechuan province, in Western China and planned new 40 series smaller cars, based on Volvo’s Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), will be made at a plant currently under construction in Luqiao, 350km south of Shanghai.
In addition to Volvo’s 40-series models, the Luqiao plant, which is owned by Geely Holdings but operated by Volvo Cars, will make CMA-based cars for LYNK & CO, a new car brand launched in October by Geely Auto.
“With three plants – and the designation of one car line for each plant – Volvo creates an efficient production structure ensuring future capacity for growth,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive.
Volvo also builds cars in Gothenburg, Sweden and Ghent, Belgium and a new plant is being built in South Carolina to make SPA-based vehicles for domestic U.S. consumption as well as for export.
Engines are manufactured in Skövde, Sweden and Zhangjiakou, China and body components in Olofström, Sweden.
The details of Volvo’s new manufacturing strategy in China came the same day it unveiled a new China-built version of its S90 sedan and a top-of-the-line, specially upgraded luxury model called S90 Excellence, in advance of their first public appearance at the 2016 Guangzhou Motor Show. The new S90 will be the most premium car ever made in China, according to the company.