By on June 9, 2013

With Volvo in Chinese hands, with a new Volvo plant in Chengdu “more or less completed,” and a second assembly plant in Daqing to come online in late 2014, there have been reports in Europe that Volvos may soon come from China instead from Sweden.  Not true,  Volvo’s  production chief Lars Wrebo told Automobilwoche [sub].  However, “other markets” than Europe could get the Made-in-China Volvos.

Volvos destined for Europe will continue to be assembled in Europe, Wrebo said. Components, especially electronic parts, will come from China. Nothing earth-shattering: Other cars have long been filled with Made-in-China parts.

Unspecified “other markets” than Europe may receive made-in-China Volvos, said the production chief.  Currently, all of Volvo’s  Made-in-China cars are destined for the Chinese market. Sure, GM had said the same.

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37 Comments on “Made-in-China Volvos To Be Exported To “Other Markets”...”


  • avatar

    Not certain which part of the sentence to be more disgusted by:
    “made in China” or “Volvo”.

    • 0 avatar
      Summicron

      C’mon, BT, be fair. Volvo is now just as craven, trend chasing and HP obsessed as everyone else.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Which is a big mistake on their part. Being different is what Volvo marketed itself as for decades, at least until the Ford buyout. You’re not going to beat the Teutonic triplets with wrong wheel drive and a shoestring R&D budget. I have a 240 and have driven the 01+ crowd, I really can’t see the point of ownership of any Volvo beyond the 900 series. Be Volvo, be different, and return to your roots as a cult car brand.

        • 0 avatar
          salhany

          Really? I’ve owned Volvos since 2006, they are comfortable, stylish vehicles that are a pleasure to drive. Their seats are heavenly.

          Really, they need to pimp the virtues of their seats much more forcefully. They are the most comfortable I’ve ever sat in. It’s remarkable how great they are.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Other markets… uh huh…

  • avatar
    carguy

    I’m not sure why this is a surprise – why would they not leverage their low domestic manufacturing costs to make Volvo competitive? Maybe a Chinese made Volvo is not as prestigious as Slovakian Porsche?

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Volvo will probably beat GM in being the first Western company to sell Chinese made autos in the US market but not the first in North America (I believe Honda was selling Chinese Fits in Canada). All it will take is a Chinese only assembled model as a litmus test, so say the S40/C70 replacement tooling conveniently only being located China, while the rest of the model line still being built in Gothenberg. If the US buyers react poorly then they might shelve it for awhile, but it won’t have the extreme public opposition from the ‘Merica crowd GM would/will face if it tried to import Chinese built Chevys and Buicks. Volvo was always a foreign company and its market cap is so little I doubt initially it would make any waves. If Volvo succeeds, the other European majors will wake up and take notice, if Volvo could sell you a 35K+ model, your next 3-series or A4 may not be built in a Western nation (Both BMW and VAG have a substantial presence in China).

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Why should anyone care? Either there will be typical Chinese quality and support, the whole thing will go pear shaped and fail, or they will pull a Hyundai and it will be a great story. Either way, what does it matter, really?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I would argue it would be a significant development if it succeeded, see my above post.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        Certainly the competition should care. My statement was too general. What I meant was consumers, buffs, etc. I own a Volvo, but I won’t miss them any more than I miss BMW or GM after I dumped them as possibilities. See what I mean?

    • 0 avatar
      Summicron

      “Why should anyone care?”

      More Western workers made permanently irrelevant to global manufacturing, but we’re on the way out anyway. So, yeah, you’re right.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        If you mean the few spoiled workers who want to have there livelihood protected while they go to a protected job where they don’t have to compete to get a top of the world pay check and benefits while the rest of us have to continually adapt, grow, take risks and compete while paying for their sweet deal. Then , yea, why should I care?

        The robots are coming boys. I recommend learning new skills unless you are very near retirement. Figure out how to leverage your current skills for your next job now.

        • 0 avatar
          Summicron

          I’m pro-worker, not pro-union. Unions are the communist party writ small and whiskey instead of vodka.

          • 0 avatar
            eggsalad

            Yes, an an individual worker has no chance of success when standing up against a large corporation and it’s bank of overpaid lawyers.

        • 0 avatar
          billfrombuckhead

          America deserves to lose to China because we won’t stick together . Begrudging American auto workers decent lives is symptomatic of the Ayn Randian decadence permeating our nation. First they came for the air traffic controllers, then auto workers, then the postal workers…
          Enjoy the new Libertarian dystopia with all products built by state socialist Asian manufacturing.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            No begrudging anyone a decent life is happening. Not even by the union organizers. They think they are handing out free lunches. They don’t think they are ruining lives even though they do it every day.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        The cost of manufacturing in China keeps going up, and the quality concerns and the control issues suggest that the trend will be towards more local manufacturing when feasible. There was a recent special insert in the Economist about this trend — here’s merely one of the articles. Frankly, there isn’t that much room left in China for high quality manufacturing on the cheap, and other countries in Asia aren’t ready for all applications:

        ::http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21569570-growing-number-american-companies-are-moving-their-manufacturing-back-united::

        Many outsourcing deals have never worked as well as MBAs hoped they would work.

    • 0 avatar
      daviel

      Landcrusher: Maybe they’ll bring out a 96 V4 turbo – that would be pear shaped

  • avatar
    Summicron

    not goin’ there… too nice a day outside.

  • avatar
    Carl Kolchak

    Always wondered why Sweden did not buy Volvo itself. Relatively Socialist country with a good reputation. Volvo was not in bad shape, unlike Saab , when Ford sold it. Volvo is dying here in the USA and being a Chinese manufactured product will kill it , at least here.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      It will kill it as a luxury product, but the near-luxury segment is going away anyway. The regular brands have all moved upmarket, and squeezed out the Bucks, Murcuries, and Acuras.

      The luxury car market is probably a fixed sized pie, so going upmarket is probably of limited value.

      With the Chinese ability to cut costs and deliver big volumes, I bet Volvo will move toward the mass market instead. But, if they start competing toe-to-toe with Toyota, I’d be very interested in owning one.

      I like what Volvo has on the lot quite a bit, but their cars not quite nice enough to get me to extend myself financially for it.

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      Government ownership of car industry has never worked well. See for example post-USSR Russian Lada and Malaysia’s Proton. The government could have offered some kind of tax breaks and such to sweeten the deal to facilitate a take over by a company like BMW, etc, but we don’t know what happened behind the scenes. It’s quite sad what happened to Swedish car industry.

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    This will be interesting. Geely has moved very slowly on capitalizing on their purchase of Volvo. Clearly they are a very conservative company. If the chinese models are the same as the swedish models in design and build then that will tell some tale. VW certainly can build multi-internationally with their models, so it’s doable.

  • avatar

    I know the guy who refused to buy his next Volvo because “they make them in China now”. I am sure there is already perception out there that Volvos are made in China. So making them in China will bring reality up to perception.

    It is interesting to know how import lovers will now justify that Volvo “unlike the Big Three is an American company”.

    • 0 avatar
      salhany

      Well, that guy’s an idiot. My 2004 S60 was made in Belgium. I just sold it, and bought a 2010 XC70 T6 made in Sweden. I couldn’t care less where Volvo assembles ‘em as long as the quality remains the same high standard that I’ve come to enjoy.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        Not sure he is an idiot, just he over reacted. I can see a reasonable buyer not wanting to be an early adapter of Chinese assembled cars. There were years where it seemed Mexico built volkswagens were inferior while Mexican built fords were excellent. Research and attention to the VIN is a smart way to go.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Agreed, and Detroit has built its share of Friday cars. Some things are just hit and miss and it pays to be vigilant.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            I took a on the Toyota Production System, and building a car doesn’t have to be hit and miss.

            There’s way more to Toyota’s consistency than just using statistical process control following the Kanban playbook, though. I’ll be happy to pontificate on exactly what I think the difference is, if anyone is interested.

  • avatar
    wmba

    The Volvo S60 sold here is not made in Sweden anyway. It’s Volvo’s biggest seller in North America.

    It comes from Belgium, the old DAF Volvo plant that used to assemble the snoozefest 340 series back in the day.

    What’s wrong with Chinese assembly anyway other than uninformed perception? Mercedes, BMW, Audi, VW, Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Honda and everyone else with a pulse assembles there. I suppose the typical prole thinks that Chinese assembly automatically equates to brown Walmart plastic crap. No idea at all about how a brand-name company goes about its business.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      Assembly is one thing, manufacture is another. As a prole that knew a prole that sold Chinese made motorcycles, I have learned their engines are not reliable and getting parts is a nightmare. Experience with a Hoover vac confirmed this as a commonly known failure in the now Chinese Hoover I own took six weeks to come from China. Hardly living up to the legal requirements for appliance parts for new appliances (ad costing nearly half the price of the vac itself.

      • 0 avatar
        wmba

        I expect off-brand crap to be crap. i expect the entry level brand name battery drill to be crap to meet Walmart’s needs. I have no reason to trust a Chinese brand chain saw.

        But I expect a Chinese made Honda Fit to be a Honda Fit. What do you think it is or would be? That’s my point, which I see I missed by not saying “vehicle” brand name company, for which I apologize.

      • 0 avatar

        I own American Hoover since 2000, it still run great. It is cheap and crude but lasted longer than European ones I owned before. Now I am concerned about Hoover since it is now Taiwanese company even though they get good ratings in CR. There are also Korean (Samsung and LG) vacs. I the past they were substandard compared with Europeans, but now they are probably okay. Sears brands some LGs, Panasonics and etc as a Kenmore. Volvo is actually is owned by Chinese company so it is not like Volvo is making cars in China – it is Chinese company is making Volvos in Japan.

  • avatar
    Paul W

    I don’t know if Bertel has mentioned it before, but the big elephant in the room is that VOLVO IS NOT ALLOWED TO MANUFACTURE CARS IN CHINA (yet). The opening ceremony of the factory was literally just a big show, production cannot start until they’ve acquired the necessary licenses from the government, something Li Shufu promised he’d take care of a long time ago. The Volvo management in Sweden are sweating bullets.

  • avatar
    red60r

    My S60R was assembled in Ghent, Belgium in 2004. What else is new?

  • avatar
    Jasper2

    The Swedish automotive industry went away a long time ago when GM and Ford took possession without any major resistance in Sweden.
    All this blah blah about Swedish cars was over taken by events that happened a long long time ago.
    If the Swedish Government did not care then, or more recently now with SAAB, why should we?

    • 0 avatar
      OldEngineer

      Sad, but true.
      I am currently driving my 6th – and possibly last – Volvo; a 2007 XC70. I bought my first Volvo in 1970. And, I have also owned American and German cars.

      Like American manufacturing (and our living standard) Volvo will never be what it was.

      Globalization’s “benefits” have gone almost entirely to the very rich.

      Even the “Swedes” at Goteborg, have been infused with the Ford corporate mindset. After being sold by Ford to China (Geely), Goteborg seems unable to get back on track, or to produce competitive products.
      And, further cost-cutting (while prices keep climbing) will not help.
      While even Chrysler (and others) have, intelligently, switched to direct injection and 8-speed transmissions, Volvo instead is prematurely touting the advent of much smaller, unproven engines, with such also unproven concepts as their KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System)
      This knee-jerk approach to life does not bode well for long-term reliability and value.
      To boot, the prevailing (sad to say) “American Corporate” mindset at Goteborg, may possibly decide to be “sneaky” and shift manufacturing to China. That would be the last straw.
      Last year, I sent a registered letter to the CEO of Volvo Cars in Sweden, and to each of his direct reports. explaining in detail why, in my opinion, these “improvements” would be a terrible idea.
      It took several months for me to get ANY RESPONSE. When it came, it came as what was obviously a form letter, originating somewhere in our East coast, and signed by some “Customer Relations” employee.
      The canned response included my name at the heading; but in the body of the letter, referred to me with somebody else’s last name!
      This is how they respond to someone who has bought 6 Volvos since 1970, and who cares about the brand, even if they don’t?


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