By on January 17, 2014

volvo

Hakan Samuelsson, CEO of Volvo Car Corp. told the Automotive News World Congress that Chinese built Volvos will be exported “fairly quickly” to the U.S. market. Samuelsson wouldn’t say exactly when but he did say that because of Volvo’s Chinese ownership the company is in a unique position to use China as an export base.  Zhejiang Geely Holding Group purchased Volvo from Ford Motor Co. in 2010.

“It will happen fairly quickly in the Volvo group, but it has to be a process that you discuss with your dealers and sales group,” Samuelsson told Automotive News. “We are the only ones who can think of using the factories for export, which we will be doing.”

Pointing to smartphones as an example of sophisticated consumer products that come from Chinese factories, Samuelsson said he doesn’t expect consumers to react negatively to the idea of a Volvo produced in China.

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76 Comments on “Volvo Boss: Made in China Volvos Will be Exported to the U.S. “Fairly Quickly,”...”


  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Because I want my car to be as reliable as my cheap electronics? Or maybe I want a disposable engine like all the ones from china I’ve ever been familiar with?

    • 0 avatar
      Kinosh

      If they can keep good processes in the factories and a stranglehold on their suppliers, then I see no problem.

      Apple already does it fairly effectively.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        Pretty good summary. I see no problems with this.

      • 0 avatar
        Stumpaster

        Apple’s products are barely touched by hands in the manuf process. If my iphone breaks I am not going to crash into a concrete wall.

        Anyway, I’ve been buying Chinese made crap in Home Depot for years now and all I know is that it does not last. Chinese stainless steel rusts. Chinese marine plywood is particle board. It’s all cheap, so I can live with replacing kitchen appliances every 5-7 years, or power tools every 2-3 years. But that’s not how it used to be. It is the reality, but you will only find my cold body in a Chinese-made Volvo, or actually any Volvo made under Chinese ownership. I’ll stick with my 27-year old 240 for now.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      Well, I’ll say this much, my cheap electronics are actually very reliable so if we go by that metric then I guess the cars will be pretty reliable too. Seriously, I can’t even remember the last time I had to send any electronics in for a warranty repair and I own all sorts of off-brand stuff including three Westinghouse branded TVs.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        The warranty lengths and expectations are a bit different for cars and electronics. 5 years of use out of most electronics is enough for most people to be happy. Appliances are a good example. Do to the electronics, refrigerators and washers are not lasting nearly as long as they did decades ago. The cost of the electronic replacement parts is generally the reason.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          While itself a big problem because of the cost and size of appliances, a $1500 refrigerator more disposable than a $35,000 automobile. People seem to toy around with semi-disposable Euro cars for various reasons, I don’t see even Volvo people toying around with cheaply made S40 type vehicles if they start to fall apart so soon after sale.

    • 0 avatar
      Volt 230

      The last 3 parts that were replaced on my 98 Corolla were Chinese-made, only the tires have survived 3 months, the other 2 (wheel bearings and CV axles had to be replaced in 2 months with US built (albeit more expensive) replacements

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    I know that I’m being parochial, given the interwoven nature of our global economy and ever-expanding “free trade” agreements, bit it’s still hard to wrap my head around Chinese fabricated Volvos being sold in the U.S. given the stereotypes that exist regarding the typical Volvo buyer.

    What next? Chinese fabricated Jeeps sold in the U.S.?

    Say what?!!

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Given stereotype of Chinese product…. wait, what stereotype? Chinese junk! And Volvo will be… wait, it is junk as it is. Now it will be even worse. Chinese people don’t have culture to build quality product

    • 0 avatar
      HerrKaLeun

      you realize the computer you are typing this on has parts that came from china? Most of the cars you drive today probably have some electronics parts from China.

      I can build a shitty device in Germany, and a good device in china. Design, management and specific corporate culture has more influence than ethnicity of the workers.

      I would be worried about china production if Volvo would have been the old Swedish bullet-proof Volvo. but since Ford it is not an especially good brand anymore anyway. I don’t see china could build worse cars than Ford. I’m not beating on Ford, it just isn’t top-notch.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        you might be able to catch someone but I am not your average Joe. My computer has no single component from China, unless it is smaller components that are part of larger ones that are made in Korea and other places. I built my own computer and when I shop parts, I use only non-Chinese.

        Good you mentioned computer. The HP laptop I purchased for $1200 is the worth computer I ever head, by quality. Battery died in a year, num pad just stopped functioning, fan makes loud noises, and now, power supply doesn’t work periodically.

        You can’t even compare auto assembly process with electronics assembly process. Auto is so much more complex.

        Russians took a russian car and put it against Chinese for quality. They stuck them into weather chamber. Chinese car had cracked windshield and rust all over the place, paint peeling.
        These Volvos will be made in a similar fashion.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          The trouble with HP/Compaq and Dell to an extent is their consumer grade product is about 200 or 300 worth of parts they wholesale to Walmart for $600 or so and the retailer doubles the price (also I doubt consumer grade is designed to have a specific lifetime). Dell from what I can tell designs there’s for at least the max warranty period (three years) and if I had to guess they probably benchmark five. I personally have several IBM/Lenovo products, some assembled in Singapore and some China. Have not had any issues with any of them, and I’ve changed two fans for customer Thinkpads (an X60 and an R52). I’m sure this will start changing as Lenovo cheapens up the quality of the product, but X/R/T models through 2010 are solid for the most part.

          • 0 avatar

            I have been at Dell. They only develop architecture and write specs. Actual SW/HW development is done by Chinese or Taiwanese companies, all developers are in Asia. One example is Asus, they learned fast and now compete with Dell. SW is also done in China. HP is actually Compaq.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Care to explain why the Jinan Qingqi 150cc scooter I used as my main transportation for three years was completely reliable? At least as reliable as anything Japanese I’ve ridden over the past 35?

      And all those cheap 50cc Qingqi scooters the dealership I work at has sold over the past five years? The biggest problem we were having with them was the owners, not the scooters. Idiots couldn’t clue in to the idea that a 50cc scooter needs regular servicing just as much as a VFR800.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        I am not impressed with your scooter story. I have 2005 Suzuki Burgman. I’ve done maintanance on it once, change tire few times. And it runs for 8 years. At the same time my cousin had Chinese scooter, which just stopped working one day, and it is collecting dust for last 3 years.

    • 0 avatar
      onyxtape

      That’s why it’s broken. It says it’s made in Japan…

  • avatar
    TangoR34

    OMG! It’s happening!

  • avatar
    tekdemon

    If they can finally get Volvo’s pricing competitive then I’m all for it. There’s no way I’d consider a Volvo right now because the pricing just doesn’t make sense.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Clever trojan horse, use an established Western brand to sneak over low cost high margin product to stupid US consumers with no loyalty to their own country’s products. But will it work? I think it will simply because Volvo’s footprint is nil and aside from a footnote on CNN and the faux outrage of the ‘merica crowd, nobody will care. Dealers might be in store for some fun depending on the refinement level/quality of product being shipped over.

    Personally I think its sad to see the brand once known for high quality long lasting products going full circle and now building mediocre product to be assembled for export in a country known for manufacturing poor quality disposable products. Chances it finally kills Volvo in the US are probably 50/50, the brand is a scandal and a 60 Minutes expose away from pariah.

    “Samuelsson said. “We are the only ones who can think of using the factories for export, which we will be doing.””

    The entire country is a factory for export Mr. Samuelsson.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      “doesn’t expect consumers to react negatively to the idea of a Volvo produced in China.”

      Right. Except they will. Volvo buyers are content to buy a Swedish Volvo, it matches their thin frame glasses and modern minimal furnishings. But a Chinese one is going to rattle and have hard plastic. It doesn’t sound affluent to tell people you have a Volvo when they’re made in China.

      So begins the final downward spiral for this brand into death. It can RIP right next to Saab.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        If this were to happen it might only die in the US, notice there was no mention of Chinese export to Europe. If Europeans and folks who live in other parts of the world can still get a Swedish Volvo, nothing should change for the brand. Geely is trying to play fast and loose with the US market because it can since the US has virtually no way to penalize them with tariffs or duties, unlike perhaps the rest of the world.

        • 0 avatar
          OldandSlow

          Not mentioning Chinese exports to Europe was what I noticed.

          Does Volvo still intend to play in the premium import market in North America?

          Unless Audi, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes follow with Chinese exports of their own – Volvo will be gone from the US within a few years.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Good question. I doubt their dealer network is set up to move low price high volume cars to the FICO 600 crowd, I assume they intend to pass off Chinese built product at premium prices.

      • 0 avatar
        tekdemon

        Screw those customers then, if they even exist. Volvo’s market share is so lousy that frankly it hardly matters if they lose all their existing base so long as they get more comepetitive with pricing. And second off, my girlfriends family owns a Volvo and they are anything but style obsessed. They also own a camry and a lexus rx, though I only ever hear of them complaining about the Volvo and RX’ repair and maintenance bills

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      Worked with Hoover

  • avatar
    Sceptic

    Good move for Volvo if they could bring prices down and increase quality due to Chinese mass production. What, an S80 for the price of Camry would sell like hot cakes. Except, I personally would not buy one.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Doubtful, the public at large doesn’t care about Volvo and even at similar price points I doubt they are defecting from Camcords. This is about making obscene profit utilizing near slave labor for assembly and selling the product at a premium price based on brand alone.

  • avatar
    krayzie

    This is going to become the Lenovo ThinkPad of cars. Eventually you will slowly see traditional traits to go away one by one until it is no longer the product it was once defined upon. This is because the new Chinese owners want it that way.

    • 0 avatar
      imag

      I’m typing this on a Lenovo X1 Carbon, and it’s as good or better in every way than any of the IBM thinkpads. And I don’t treat laptops nicely; my last Dell looked like a wreck after two years.

  • avatar
    69firebird

    I wonder if they lose their brand-loyal customers over this.Chinese build quality doesn’t exactly scream long lasting and solid.

  • avatar
    Eric the Red

    If people are aware of country of manufacture then who will buy a Chinese made Volvo? Volvo’s sold in the past due to safety reputation, solid build reputation, and a small built in Sweden snob appeal. People paid a premium for these factors.
    None of these factors will be present in a Chinese built Volvo.
    I believe taking the brand to a bargain price (cheap) would be best chance to create any kind of volume or market share. Given cheaper cost structure in China should be possible to build and sell cheaper and still make a profit.
    Paying any premium for a Chinese built car is “NOTGONNAHAPPEN”

    • 0 avatar
      shipping96

      Paying any premium for a Chinese built car is “NOTGONNAHAPPEN”

      I fully agree. After I hopefully have a new better paying job in a few years and we’re past the minivan stage as a family I was thinking large Volvo wagon for our next family car. But not with this, not with so many other choices on the market.

    • 0 avatar
      jadnhm

      Just an FYI to everyone – a large portion of their cars (~50% I think) are actually /not/ made in Sweden but across the water in Ghent, Belgium.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volvo_Cars_Ghent

      Their main plant is of course the one in Torslanda, Sweden
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torslandaverken

  • avatar
    PenguinBoy

    I can’t see this working for a few reasons:

    -A large part of Volvo’s appeal is that they are “Premium” and “European”, a made in China label doesn’t fit in with either of these.

    -Chinese labour costs are approaching Mexican labour costs, but shipping costs will be much higher to North America – so they won’t really have a cost advantage over Mexican built cars. And made in Mexico has (slightly) less stigma than made in China.

    -Volvo’s haven’t really been competitive with premium European cars like BMW, Audi, etc. for years – and at the same time, non premium brand cars are getting awfully nice. Is a Volvo sedan really any nicer than a loaded up AWD Fusion or Chrysler 200?

    • 0 avatar
      Swedish

      You must be nuts comparing any of Volvo’s current products to a Chrysler 200 – The Volvo XC60 and S60 are quite competitive. The S60 safety is superior to competitors such as the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class which all performed poorly in IIHS Small Overlap Crash Testing – even the Honda Civic out performed the German trio. Volvo’s reliability is higher than the average German brand and the Total Cost of Ownership is lower. The S60, S80, XC60 and the ancient XC90 all passed IIHS’s Small Overlap Crash Test. Mercedes had to make structural changes to their 2014 ML SUV to match the safety rating of Volvo’s dated XC90.

      • 0 avatar
        PenguinBoy

        “You must be nuts comparing any of Volvo’s current products to a Chrysler 200″

        I’m not sure about that. While I haven’t seen a new 200 yet, it compares well on paper – ~300 hp, AWD, 9AT, nice interior, full complement of gadgets and safety features. And the crash safety is likely to be pretty good too, being a new design.

        Of course Chrysler hasn’t been considered a premium badge for the last 40 years or so – but I don’t see a Volvo with the stigma of a “made in China” label being taken seriously by the badge snobs either.

        Even if the new 200 doesn’t live up to the hype my point still stands – there are some nice products out there that come from mainstream manufacturers, and Volvo will have to compete with them.

        Volvo is already struggling in North America, this latest move isn’t going to help them.

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      A large appeal of VW, Audi, BMW, etc is that they’re are “German”. In reality, some are built in Mexico. By the way, in China they also build BMW, Buick, Toyota, Honda, etc. It’s not like they’re all bad. Chinese factory can have good quality control, if you’re willing to pay for it.

  • avatar
    Carrera

    I just don’t see this being too successful. Actually, when Ford sold Volvo to the Chinese it stopped me in my tracks from even considering an XC 60. I probably wasn’t going to buy it anyway in the end, but it was in my top 5. I do see Volvo trying it for two or three years, failing at it for different reason ( perception or reality), but then bringing production back to Europe amid big fanfare. More plausible though, I see everything in a Volvo being made in China and assembled in Europe which in my book will be a little more successful, at least from a perception point of view. Most people have no idea where parts come from in their car anyway, nor do they care. But if that VIN number doesn’t start with “Y”….

  • avatar
    andyinatl

    Having owned multiple Volvos in past, and as someone considering a new Volvo XC90 due to some family changes, this is the end of line for Volvos in my life. I always loved and admired Volvos for their reliability (between 5 different Volvos i’ve had, i NEVER had any issues beyond regular maintenance) and “non-disposable” feel. Now that they are going to be made in China, i don’t even care if they preserve the feel. I bought them before because they were made by people who take pride in their workmanship. Bringing them down to level where the work goes to lowest bidder, is akin to having a $20K front door installed/worked on by a cheap illegal labor (regardless of nationality), instead of master carpenter, who has been cultivating his reputation carefully for years and takes pride in his work.

  • avatar
    tremorcontrol

    Yeah, this is somewhat of a bummer but not unexpected. They’re definitely banking on the Apple model, and it might work, but they’re going to have to do some major PR to prove to people that “designed by volvo in sweden” can be the new “designed by apple in california”. Unfortunately, Volvo advertising/PR at least in the U.S. seems little-to-none…

    Full disclosure: I bought a 2014 volvo s60… made in belgium for now at least. Believe me or not, I think it’s a great car – well-built, fun to drive, and different.

    …but no amount of van damme splits is going to keep the company from imploding if they don’t manage the non-European production properly and really bring some great cars to the market.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Van Damme was shilling for Volvo, not Geely owned Volvo Cars. I saw a gen 3? S60 just yesterday and it appeared to be even smaller than the gen 1 S60s I’m more familiar with, how do you like it?

      • 0 avatar
        tremorcontrol

        Interesting… So does Geely just only own Volvo Cars? (and the truck/utility business is another entity?) Either way, they should capitalize on the minor viral success of that split… ;)

        I like the latest S60 we got a lot, but it’s got its quirks (mainly in the controls and packaging of options). For context, I’m coming from a 1st-gen TSX that I loved so I’m into cars off the beaten path that are somewhat small. The S60′s steering isn’t as good as the TSX’s but is still good. We got the sport package which adds 18″ wheels and paddler shifters and presumably a slightly tighter suspension (I know Jack B. of TTAC took a rental S60 to the track and had some wheel-tire slippage!). The T5 engine (which is on the way out) has plenty immediate power but is a bit rough sounding sometimes (keep in mind again that I’m coming from a TSX, which had to be pushed to the redline for entertainment).

        My wife comes from a “volvo family”, and I just couldn’t convince her to like the CPO A4 Avant I had tracked down. A BMW 3-series wagon was also a non-starter for her, unfortunately (we share a car)… :) But I’m completely happy with the S60 (we couldn’t wait for the V60, which might have hit the sweetspot). Just keeping my fingers crossed that the dealers/service don’t bail on the U.S.

        When the Geely deal was announced a couple of years ago, I was totally down on Volvo — but as I read about and test drove the car more recently I got over my aversion to the new ownership. It also just seems like global markets are just so intertwined that Chinese ownership/financing doesn’t mean a total reversion to communism…

        Time will tell how this all works out, of course (for my car and for the company). I’m all in for the free market and survival of the fittest, but I do like the idea of a handful of quirky car makers surviving so that there’s more choice out there. The V40 in Europe is a nice-looking car, and maybe something compelling will come from new design concepts. In the meantime, I really like driving the S60.

        • 0 avatar
          th009

          Volvo Trucks is a completely separate company, and the owner of the Volvo brand. Geely only has the right to use the brand for passenger cars.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          AB Volvo is a truck and heavy equipment mfg, hence the Van Damme commercial. I’m not sure of the corporate structure prior to the Ford buyout, but Volvo Cars was either created as a result of the sale or was an internal division of the greater Volvo parent.

          I’m familiar with the RWD Volvos, the 850s and the gen 1 S40/60/80. Coming from a RWD ownership mindset, while I liked gen 1 S60 I found the rear too crampt and the trunk small, not to mention iffy reliability. Gen 1 S40 is a clown car, although V40 gives you I think the “right” amount of room for a small car. Gen 1 S80 is probably the most appropriate size in my mind, but the cars are fraught with problems the S60 doesn’t suffer. I like the look of the refreshed S60, but the gen 2 struck me as even smaller in person. Personally I’m a proponent of cars smaller than a certain size just being coupes or hatchbacks, but assuming I had no regular adult passengers (or had small children) the S60 is a nice way to go.

          “Volvo Car Corporation was founded in 1927, in Gothenburg, Sweden, originally as a subsidiary company to the ball bearing maker SKF.[2] When Volvo AB was introduced on the Swedish stock exchange in 1935, SKF sold most of the shares in the company. Volvo Cars was owned by AB Volvo until 1999, when it was acquired by the Ford Motor Company as part of its Premier Automotive Group. Geely Holding Group then acquired Volvo Cars from Ford in 2010″

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volvo_Cars

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I like the Chuck Norris split video better. Between two C-17s and carrying Navy Seals shaped into a Christmas tree. The planes did not turn, Chuck Norris pushed them with his feet.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            At 28D: This is slightly ot, but how would you compare the 850 models versus the 240?

            I say this as a 240 owner who’s been considering an upgrade to either a 940 wagon or an 850V70, my concerns are the rarity of low mileage examples, weight distribution, and general quality differences.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Ryoku

            From a mechanical and overall ownership standpoint there is no comparison, RWD Volvo, esp 200, wipes the floor with 850/S70. From the creature comforts/practical standpoint, 850/S70 is a more attractive proposition. Modern FI, powerful A/C (I was told its a GM HVAC unit), can be had in a 5spd, reasonable power, nice dash layout (think improved 900), and the bodies are quite durable like 200/700. My mechanic had a junker 850 wagon, literally looked like he picked it out of a junkyard. But to my surprise, this “parts car” started right up and ran fine, 196 on the clock (ironically it was started up in order to dump excess parts into and be towed to the boneyard). Don’t ever pay much for the 850/S70 though because they have weak points, in addition to all of the usual FWD only issues the auto transaxle tends to go out in higher mileage. They have a few more 850 specific issues but I can’t recall them now, if you were considering one I can make some calls and get the low down.

            Personally I’d look for a 940 wagon, I believe the sedans came out of Belgium but all of the wagons came from Gothenburg, but 850/S70s are far more plentiful.

            Additional: Generally speaking I would avoid Volvos made after 1999, there is a window of Aisin transmission issues from 99-01 or 02 and the S80 is a plague in the same period. My guy has no respect for the S40, but feels the most “Volvo” car of the 2000s was the S60 followed by V70, but concedes V70/XC70 can be a headache at times. I know you have a longstanding policy of not paying for cars but if you wanted to ever venture into “new world” Volvos I kinda like the post 02 S60s but I would seek a manual. Even when the T5/auto is running properly it doesn’t blow my socks off. All FWD Volvos will have issues the RWD just don’t have, so if you’re looking to go to war stick with RWD, but if a clean 850 comes through for little to no money might be worth a look as a second car.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            Thanks for the detailed response, the FWDs can get decent miles but I understand they’re a bit less solid.

            I have a rule of thumb when buying Volvos, buy old, or buy square. If the FWDs would be better as a second hand car I’ll probably eye for a 100-series or a higher mileage RWD wagon.

            My 240 uses an Aisin that necessitated an overdrive mod to work right, before I got it the module had been replaced.

            I wish I knew an easy way to tell the Gothenburg 240s apart from the Halifax ones.

          • 0 avatar
            piffpaff

            @bball40dtw
            The Chuck Norris clip was a digital fake whereas the original was a true one shot filming, although they hid the safety harness that JCVD was wearing. The most impressive thing about it is the stability and directional control with which the drivers are able to reverse at speed.

          • 0 avatar
            jadnhm

            @Ryoku75:

            As a fairly recent RWD to FWD/AWD volvo convert I can give you the lowdown here. I too was hesitant.

            The RWD cars are definitely easier to work on, and less complicated in general.

            However the benefits of the newer platform are many. They are MUCH more refined – smoother, quieter, in general more powerful, etc. Not to mention a lot safer – the 1995 850 was the first car with side impact airbags? And the bodies actually hold up better than the RWD cars, esp the 240s with their disappearing floors…

            My DD is a 1998 and the AWD system still works fine (though I’ve put some work in), the transmission is fine (I’ve changed the fluid a couple of times now), and all the electrical things still work. I’ve had a problem with the bulkhead connectors on the fuel pump assembly (AWD specific problem) and the electronically controlled HVAC stuff is starting to act a bit weird (stepper motors that move the various flaps). Other than that it has been just like any other old car – things wear out, you track it down, fix/replace it, move on.

            I would love to find mint V90 somewhere, but I’ll prob stick with the modern FWD/AWD cars, or move to another manufacturer.

            BTW I got to see the inside of a ‘whiteblock’ (new 5-cyl) last summer when someone I knew did a head job (broken timing belt – his fault) and it was in truly incredible shape inside – also a ’98 with ~350k kms. I’m telling you it was remarkable. These engines are BUILT. Just as tough as the redblock. Hopefully the new gen 4 cyls coming to replace will be as tough.

        • 0 avatar
          piffpaff

          The Volvo Group is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of trucks, buses, construction equipment and marine and industrial engines. The Group also provides complete solutions for financing and service. The Volvo Group, which employs about 115,000 people, has production facilities in 19 countries and sells its products in more than 190 markets. In 2012 the Volvo Group’s sales amounted to about SEK 304 billion. The Volvo Group is a publicly-held company headquartered in Göteborg, Sweden. Volvo shares are listed on OMX Nordic Exchange Stockholm.
          Brands include Volvo, Renault, Mack, UD and Eicher for trucks, Volvo, Prévost and Nova for buses, Volvo and SDLG for construction equipment and Volvo Penta for marine and industrial engines.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Volvo is in its last breath as is it is. Stick “Made in China” on it and “good bye” Volvo USA

  • avatar
    Sceptic

    A question to all ChiVolvo(tm) bashers here: why Americans still shop at IKEA? Most of the product is now made in Asia(China mostly), almost nothing comes from Sweden. Euro-made goods at IKEA come from Eastern Europe mostly. I challenge you to find anything with “Made in Sweden” label at IKEA.

    And let me remind you that Volvo has history of manufacturing in Canada and the Benelux countries as well. That never had any measurable impact on the brand.

    Just food for thought.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I can’t explain Ikea because I don’t understand it myself, but that’s a good second point. The only explanation I can come up with is the assembly plants and suppliers were located in first world nation similar to the US. While maybe not quite on par with Sweden, it wasn’t too far off the mark. China is another kettle of fish altogether, not to mention the general stigma put on Chinese made goods.

    • 0 avatar
      wolfinator

      Hmmm. I’m not a huge Ikea fan, but I think I understand some of it. I’m a young person who knows lots of people who shop there.

      I think Ikea’s appeal is in the design. People like the looks and the features of Ikea’s stuff. It’s often very clever, with nifty features that make you go “aha!”

      However, their stuff (especially their made-in-China type stuff) is not durable or high quality. Everyone I know acknowledges that Ikea furniture is fairly crappy. It looks nice for a bit, but after some use or a move or two it falls apart*.

      You only buy Ikea stuff when you want something cheap, disposable, but passably attractive and useful for 3-6 years before it disintegrates.

      I don’t see how that applies to Volvo. Unless that’s the niche they want? Pleasantly designed cars with 90′s Hyundai quality? Or at least the perception that they are that way? That is more or less the opposite of their traditional positioning.

      *Not all Ikea stuff is crap. However, their higher quality stuff is more expensive. By the time you pay the prices they charge for high quality items, you’re better off buying from a more traditional furniture or home goods retailer. IMO – YMMV.

      Also, the well-off wire-rimmed glasses people don’t shop at Ikea. They shop at Scan-Design or somewhere better. Ikea is for the proles.

    • 0 avatar
      PenguinBoy

      I’m not sure how you can compare cheap, semi disposable furniture and housewares to an expensive car that is supposed to be “premium”, “European” and “durable”.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      It’s easy to find “made in Sweden” products at IKEA. Just shop in the deli section …

    • 0 avatar
      mypoint02

      Maybe I can explain the Ikea thing, having bought some furniture there recently. In my case, I didn’t want to, nor did I have, thousands of dollars to spend on furniture. Plus I knew we were going be having kids over the next few years. Why spend a ton of money on stuff that’s probably just going to be destroyed anyways? In my experience, their stuff actually holds up reasonably well. The problems I’ve had haven’t been that it falls apart. More often, the finish wears off relatively quickly. The main selling points for me are that it looks good, it’s cheap, and it’s good enough to get me by for a few years. Perhaps I’ll make an investment in nice furniture down the road, but right now I have other/better things to spend money on.

      Bringing it back to the topic, there’s a big difference for me between buying some cheap furniture at Ikea for a couple hundred bucks and buying a $35k+ car or SUV. I looked at an S60 and liked it. But I’d have a hard time shelling out that much for it if it was made in China. It’s hard to see this experiment ending well for Volvo.

  • avatar
    tremorcontrol

    Most all cars have components from all over the world and are being manufactured all over. Seems like this is a trend that will continue:
    http://www.bimmerfest.com/news/711713/parts-in-my-bmw-came-from-china-turkey-uk-etc/

    http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2012/04/audi-picks-mexico-over-us-for-its-factory/1#.UtmRpGQo5uU

    But regardless of this new global marketplace/manufacturing trend, I wish the Ford bean counters hadn’t F-ed up Volvo (no pun intended…) and had been able to keep it at least American owned…

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    I don´t think that a Volvo “made in china” will be any different than other Volvos. Quality is average either way.
    It is certainly better than some thing “made in usa”.

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Brisbane

    I doubt that many of the posters here have been to China and been driven around in a locally built Buick. They are fine cars and I bet they would sell like sushi in the U.S. If GM were even more stupid than they are. The detractors probably think that their Honda was built in Japan or their BMW was built in Germany, both of which are unlikely. And for the player suggesting that shipping costs will be a killer, check out your atlas for the whereabouts of Seoul or Rayong.

    • 0 avatar
      PenguinBoy

      I am well aware of the location of Seoul, even without an Atlas.

      The *only* advantage I can see of a Chinese made car is price. The “cost to market” region for making North American market cars is Mexico – so a Chinese made car needs to beat a Mexican made car on price, while remaining competitive on quality.

      Thanks to rapid wage inflation in China, labour costs there are now roughly the same as in Mexico. Here’s one recent source that suggests they’re even a bit higher in China now: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/04/economy-mexico-wages-idUSL2N0CR1TY20130404

      Shipping costs to the USA will be higher from China then Mexico, both in the cost of shipping itself, and in the amount of inventory that’s tied up for a longer amount of time while shipping.

      So I can’t see how a car sold in the US or Canada would be cheaper to build in China than a similar car built in Mexico. And I can’t see many people in North America paying extra for a “made in China” label.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Trouble is the consumer doesn’t always get the cost savings passed onto them from the mfg. Dodge claims pricing of a 2014 Ram 1500 starts at 23,600. Ford F150 starts at 24,445. Labor is something like 80% cheaper in Mexico and yet there is only an $845 starting savings in RAM over the F150.

        http://www.ramtrucks.com/en/2013/ram_1500/#bighorn/maximum_steel_metal_clear_coat/mono

        http://www.ford.com/trucks/f150/models/

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    My opinion of Chinese products come from a bit of a silly source, desk lamps. I’ve collected several older models that use small low wattage bulbs (think reverse lights on a car).

    I have the following:

    1960′s Tensor lamp, made in America, still works like a dream but gets warm over time.

    1970′s European made “Eyeball” Tensor, works like a dream, I used it daily for some time.

    Late 1970′s Hong Kong Tensor knock-off, works fine but I had to take it apart to tighten a few components, luckily the exposed bulky screws made this a cinch. I use it daily.

    If Volvo found a way to make its cars easily serviced I wouldn’t mind if they’re made in China, so long as they’re priced reasonably and, like the 240, can be fixed easily. If they get this down they’ll made good fleet cars too.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Interesting hobby. I used to collect car emblems and grilles.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        Its a bit unusual, but I got into it admiring how well old desk lamps hold up over the years compared to other appliances, the only one I had that “broke” was a newer one with a LED bulb, oh yea it switched on, but it smoked and flickered, thankfully I payed only a buck for it.

        For some reason they command good money on ebay too, but I’d rather hold on to a few of them.

        I collectpatch up cheap vintage appliances as a side hobby, to me its an interesting way of looking back into bygone culture and lifestyles, all the while appreciating the present.

        If I had space I’d fill my wall with various car grilles and lights, but for now I just have car keys from interesting or high mileage scrap yard cars, naturally several are Volvo keys.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I recommend getting at least the trunk lock unit in the future if you’re collecting keys. Back in the 90s I knew several people who wanted their trunk key to be different than the key that opened the doors. As cars age locks seize and keys get lost, I could see a classic or antique enthusiast being interested in a working trunk lock (or even set of locks for the car).

  • avatar
    threeer

    As evidenced in the comments here, most Americans won’t give three figs about sending more money to China and won’t even be vageuely aware that their Volvo is made in China. I guess $300 billion in negative trade with them alone last year makes not a whiff of difference. It aggrevates me that Americans have more or less given up on their own country when it comes to maintaining an industrial/manufacturing base, but I guess people have the freedom to make their own choices. NIMD…

    • 0 avatar
      tremorcontrol

      I think the made-in-the-USA Tesla shows that some great engineering and manufacturing can happen in the US. Problem is the cost, so wouldn’t be surprised to see the manufacturing move elsewhere if/when Tesla starts to scale (or maybe Ford or GM will buy them before that happens, which opens up its own can of worms…)

      I agree the trade imbalance is insane. Maybe in the future (but I don’t mean the near future) 3D printing will create a whole new manufacturing dynamic. Buy a car plan designed in Italy and have it assembled in the U.S. at a 3D printing center.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      Volvox were never made in the us to begin with so it’s rather ridiculous to bring up trade imbalances. And anyways, a trade deficit is not neccessarily bad for an economy, it just makes for an easy scapegoat for populist nonsense. There is zero difference to the US economy whether the v60 gets shipped here from Sweden or Guangzhou and I for one look forward to Chinese built Volvo cars because then they might actually be able to compete. As it is they don’t sell and a lot of that is the insane pricing.

      • 0 avatar
        threeer

        As I said…we all have the freedom to choose where we send our money to. While I understand that a completely 100% free from Chinese product economy is impossible, I can still minimize the impact and would much rather the money go to employing somebody from Birmingham or Boston before Beijing. Trade is relevant. Folks are free to buy what they want, even if it means losing more of our own independence (not that I’d expect hundreds of thousands of Chinese-made Volvos to suddenly be sold, mind you).


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