By on September 1, 2014

5

Canada may have already received its first mass-produced Chinese car in the form of the outgoing Honda Fit. Now, it’s America’s turn.

According to Automotive News, Volvo will introduced the Chinese-made S60L, a long-wheelbase version of the S60, sometime in 2015. The S60L will replace the slow-selling S80. The main change will be a 3.2 inch extension to the S60’s wheelbase. Like the S80, the car will be similarly low volume, though it will function as a gauge of the overall quality and level of acceptance that consumers will have for Chinese cars.

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39 Comments on “Volvo Readying Chinese Made S60L For North America...”


  • avatar
    smartascii

    The size of the “Buy American” crowd tooling around in their Mexican-built, Euro-desgned Fusions, all of whom look down their noses at the American-built Accords and Passats suggests to me that people don’t know or care where their cars are built.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Is “coming with length” passe already?

  • avatar
    carguy

    Why would we expect to buy Thai, Japanese or Korean made cars but not made in China? Maybe the bigger story is that we haven’t see more of this already.

    • 0 avatar
      turboprius

      At least 80% of the people in my grade own an iPhone (it seems like). They’re made in China, but people don’t care. I wanted a Moto X for one reason: it’s made in America. However, after my friend told me about some events going on at Motorola, I got a Taiwanese-built M7, and couldn’t be happier.

      If overpriced, small devices like the iPhone 5S can garner a mass consumption from fifteen year olds based on brand, then companies like Toyota, Honda could go to China, mass produce base model cars, and their followers probably wouldn’t care.

    • 0 avatar
      phreshone

      Metallurgy. Chinese steel is horrible. I’m not spending $35k plus on a Chinese car. A $750 scooter for the kids, sure. But not $35k.

      • 0 avatar
        carguy

        It must be something quality related as most major manufacturers are already building cars there but have chosen not to export them.

      • 0 avatar
        turboprius

        Well, I do know of some quality issues with the iPhone. A girl in my math class has a 5S, and has a Mophie case because her phone won’t charge on its own anymore. However, this is rare.

      • 0 avatar

        New SF Bay bridge is made in China and it withstands 7-magnitude Earthquakes. Martin Luther Kong’s monument is proudly made in China – a beacon for human rights and is widely accepted.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        “Chinese steel is horrible”

        Just like Americans or Germans, Chinese can build things well if you manage the process correctly. It’s possible to get perfectly good steel in China if a manufacturer wants it enough. They just have to be continuously diligent.

        I hope someone in America will crash-test an imported S60L, and I hope it will do as well as a Swedish-built S60.

      • 0 avatar

        I dunno, 8Cr13MoV has always taken a good edge for me. It’s certainly no Seki City steel but it works.

        /knifenerd

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Maybe this L version will solve the tight rear seat problem on the S60.

  • avatar
    pb35

    If there’s one thing the S60 needs more of, it’s rear legroom. This will be a good thing. However, I want my Volvo’s made in Sweden and my Dodge’s made in Canada!

  • avatar
    hreardon

    While Americans have no problem buying their electronics from China I’m still not convinced that they will be quite as accepting of cars assembled there just yet. Recent high profile recalls of things like toothpaste, detergent and dog food have done a pretty decent job of cementing the idea that the Chinese like to cut corners wherever and whenever they can. Note – I’m not saying these are accurate portrayals, just that the image is out there.

    Considering that Volvo prides itself on safety – all it will take is one safety related recall of a Chinese produced car to set off a major headache for them. I can see the 6:00 news headlines already. For what it’s worth, you know that a Chinese produced car will come under far more scrutiny than anything assembled in Mexico or other parts of Asia.

    The cost savings would have to be substantial for me to be the executive who signs off on this move. The upside to Volvo is that their volume is so slow, it’s very likely as everyone else has said, that nobody will pay attention.

    I’m still curious to see a study of what the true cost savings are for assembling an automobile in China versus Mexico, Europe, Canada, the US, etc. All we tend to hear is that China is much less expensive to do business in, but I have clients who a lot of business in China and they are finding the cost of doing business there to be increasing at a fast pace. In fact, one has already suggested to me that within the next five years it will likely make more sense for them to manufacture in NAFTA than in China, especially if transportation and logistics costs continue to increase and China does start cracking down on environmental concerns.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      This is not a Chinese branded product but a Volvo, built to Volvo specs in China. No different to Samsung, Apple made in China

      • 0 avatar
        hreardon

        Right, but you’re missing the point: American consumers have shown themselves to be extremely adverse to Chinese products as soon as a health or safety issue is detected. If pet food companies were forced to pull production from China in the shadow of a contamination scare, can you only imagine the media reaction to a safety recall for a vehicle assembled there – *especially* a Volvo, who hangs its hat on the safety sales angle?

        Again, I’m not saying these are warranted fears, but as they say: perception is reality.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @hreardon,
          Baked Volvo? Char Grilled Ram?

          Broiled Mustang, that’s more appealing.

          I really don’t think cars are meant to be eaten. I have yet to hear of any cars failing the FDA.

          Food processing is different than the fabrication of motor vehicles.

          I mean many in the US wear T Shirts from Central America and drive Mexican cars.

  • avatar
    Tosh

    Customers who lease (long term rent) won’t care (but they should). Old skol purists (2% of forecasted buyers) will either wait or take the increased risk of low quality. The product will speak for itself. And a small proportion of online Volvo idyllists (I tend toward one myself) will voice outrage. Reality is China Inc has bought a Swedish nameplate. But any outrage should be directed to Made-in-China in general: They are our main enemy today, environmentally and economically, so why keep rewarding them?

  • avatar
    Trend-Shifter

    But more importantly our government should have a trade policy with a 5 year rear view mirror.

    China has charged large tariffs over the years on US manufactured cars. The China Volvos should be charged according to the highest level we were charged over the past 5 years.

    If China customs included unwritten barriers over the past 5 years, do the same.

    I believe in free trade and this is the kind of actions that can level the playing field so we are always the loser.

  • avatar
    Eliyahu

    Well, so there is now a backseat, and the Civic sized car is now an Accord Touring without a trunk. Will there be a Chinese C30 as a shopping cart accessory?

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Drop the tiny S60 for the S60L, not the S80.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      “Because the S60 is now available as the S60L, Volvo can go head to head with the German luxury full-size models like the A8L and 750IL!”

      -The minds of Volvo marketing people.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    If Chinese-made vehicles really catch on will fragrance manufacturers have to start including sulfur compounds in their “new car smell” products?

  • avatar
    threeer

    Never in my garage, but sadly…most people buying this will care not a whiff where it is made. As most have already alluded to, place of manufacture is largely irrelevant. Not that Volvo was ever American made to begin with…heck I am having issues considering a new Mustang with the Chinese-made transmission. Prefer a manual, but do my best to limit how much Chinese goods enter my household. It is a personal choice, so to each his own, I suppose…

  • avatar
    Sceptic

    I have no problem with Volvo’s from China as long as the country of assembly and sources of parts are clearly indicated per federal standard. And the product is priced accordingly. If Swedish production vehicle was $40K then this new Chinese model should sell for $20K. It worked for Walmart et al, and it will work for the auto industry.

    In about 10 years the way things are going we should expect a flood of cheap cars from Asia Pacific(China, Thailand etc)

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      On the pricing angle, Sceptic: not. gonna. happen.

      Volvo is pushing to move upmarket and there’s no way in hell they’ll destroy that part of the brand equation by repricing their cars that way. Their brand image would be destroyed. Of course, one could successfully argue that they don’t really HAVE a brand image any longer, so…there’s that.

      I’m not convinced that we’re going to see a ‘flood of cheap cars’ that has been speculated upon for years. I think we’ll continue to see what we’ve seen for the last 20 years: the former “cheap” brands move upmarket (eg: Honda, Acura, Nissan) and up-and-comers taking their place at the lower end (eg: Kia, Hyundai).

      The question is whether the market can support so many competitors. My gut tells me that the US market is going to max out at around 17-18mm units per year which means lots of people feeding at the same trough. I also think that China is going to go through some massive changes over the next 10 years that are going to lessen their competitive manufacturing advantage.

      Brands mean something and building brands takes a lot of time and capital. The Chinese domestic auto industry is a trainwreck because they haven’t learned this yet. The Volvo purchase by the Chinese is in many ways an attempt to get a jumpstart on this. It very well may succeed, but that success is anything but assured.

      • 0 avatar
        Sceptic

        I agree with everything you say. Especially considering that in the mind of American consumer Volvo = Swedish. Let’s see how well this latest move will work for them.

  • avatar
    Paul W

    Isn’t/wasn’t Volvo’s biggest manufacturing plant i Belgium anyway?

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    Damn, now they have to change all the badges to Vorvo.

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