Volvo Breaks Ground for New South Carolina Assembly Plant
“Fortunately, we were not affected by the hurricane,” Volvo spokesman Stefan Elfström told Global Trade, adding that construction of the new plant is proceeding on schedule with The first South Carolina-built Volvos expected to roll off the assembly line in late 2018.
The $500 million, 575-acre facility is about 30 miles northwest of Charleston and is the Swedish auto maker’s first production plant in North America. The facility will initially produce the ‘next-generation’ Volvo S60 sedan with a capacity of up to 100,000 cars per year, “along with another model yet to be determined.”
According to the auto industry media, signs point to Volvo’s ‘next-generation’ V60 wagon or XC60 SUV as the second model to be built at the facility.
The new South Carolina plant “is a reflection of our firm commitment to the U.S. market,” said Lex Kerssemakers, Volvo’s senior vice president – Americas. “The United States is a cornerstone in Volvo’s global expansion plan and together with a whole range of new cars in the coming years this new plant will play a vital role in growing our presence in the United States.”
The S60 luxury sedan’s assembled at the new plant, he said, will be sold in the U.S. market as well exported overseas through the Port of Charleston, he said.
Volvo announced its intention to build an assembly plant in the U.S. in March, but held off announcing the exact location of the facility saying it had narrowed its short list of potential locations to three or four possible sites.
The company reportedly decided on South Carolina after it was able to work out the details of a $204 million incentive package with the state and its electric utility Santee-Cooper.
“The decision to choose Berkeley County was taken as a result of its easy access to international ports and infrastructure, a well-trained labor force, an attractive investment environment and experience in the high tech manufacturing sector,” said Volvo’s Kerssemakers, who estimated that the factory will employ up to 2,000 people over the next decade and up to 4,000 people in the longer term.
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