By on October 8, 2014

Volvo-S60L_P

CEOs and senior execs going on shopping runs to Staples may soon be able to leave their MKTs at the parking garage when the Chinese-made Volvo S60L arrives next year.

Automotive News reports Volvo plans to ship 5,000 units to the U.S. annually, with sales to begin in H2 2015. The move will save the Sino-Swede automaker considerable cash, as the vehicles will be imported from a factory not involved in a joint venture like Volvo’s competitors, according to CEO Hakan Samuelsson.

He also says Volvo will position the S60L as an “executive car,” offering more features and options in its 112.5-inch wheelbase than the S60, which will take its place as a sportier variant.

As for quality, product development chief Peter Mertens said the longer S60 fared better than the European-built standard model based on the company’s internal quality audits.

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148 Comments on “Chinese-Built Volvo S60L Bound For US Market In 2015...”


  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    This will be sold exclusively through Wal-Mart, and come with a free Bank of Wal-mart checking account & a 12 year/120,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty (to be utilized at dedicated, specialized Wal-mart automotive service centers [next to sporting goods]).

    • 0 avatar

      2/24 Service Plan offers premium Douglas radials and Great Value Motor Oil-Style Engine Lubricants!

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Great Wall-mart

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      Oh please. Hecho en Mexico Audis and other cars are selling well enough in America, and they’re not sold through the Walmart. And then you have to admit that China is far more technologically advanced country that Mexico.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        I’m not convinced anyone has to admit that China is far more technologically advanced country than Mexico.

        The issue is how well can they manufacture/assemble the advanced technology of cars. Mexico seems to do a good job. Does China do as well? Does the fact that they screw things up like lead in paint on kids’ toys and rat poison in dry wall have any bearing on automobiles? I don’t know the answers to those questions.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    My impression was that the S60 was essentially a shortened S80. So if the S60L is an S60 that is coming with length, then does this replace the S80?

  • avatar
    threeer

    We all have our red lines in the sand…and a Chinese manufactured car is one of them. I suppose they’ll sell a ton of them in ‘Murica…

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      I’ll bite. Why would you not buy a Chinese manufactured vehicle?

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        Racism, the desire not to support the Chinese economy, and the belief that a Chinese-made car is not a durable or aspirational good worthy of its premium posiion in the marketplace.

        Those are mine anyways.

      • 0 avatar
        rmmartel

        Quality. Items produced in China are not known for their quality. This is not to say that quality products could not be built there…but let’s be honest , no one builds products in China for quality – they build them there to increase profit margin.

        • 0 avatar
          bosozoku

          That was true 10 years ago, but China’s manufacturing has matured vastly over the past decade. Its labor costs have risen enough that building their is no longer the cheapest option around, and nor is it a cost-only proposition when a manufacturer chooses to set up a factory there.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            The 7:30AM meeting I have with our QA guys in China would disagree, given that they continue to deliver crap that’s late and out of spec (yet swear it’s in spec when they deliver it). And so would the fact that a number of our customers explicitly require 0.0% China content in their ITBs. Oil and gas industry, btw.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            “Wait, it’s not within our specifications. It’s not even close.”

            “It symmetrical enruff.”

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            To this day we cannot buy steel from China sources because they continue to falsify material certifications.

            It has been the business culture there to make the sale and make the price point no matter what. That kind of attitude has the potential to produce recalls the likes of which GM has never dreamed of.

            Can China produce well-made cars? Sure. Will they produce well-made cars? eh….

        • 0 avatar

          Yes, you are right. iPhones are not viewed as quality products.

          Everybody made exactly the same arguments about Korea and Japan not very long ago.

          • 0 avatar
            wolfinator

            iPhones are quality because Apple rides their suppliers hard. Presumably what S2k is trying to do.

            I feel like that’s fundamentally different than what happened in Japan, where Japanese companies embraced ways to improve quality with open arms on their own. They paid attention to Deming, created “lean production”, etc etc. They were adamant about trying to learn how to do things “the best”.

            From my limited exposure to Japan, that seems to me to have cultural roots. There seems to be a real culture of pride in doing whatever you do the best that you can.

            It seems to me, from my armchair across the Atlantic, that China is not there yet. I’m sure China will “get there” eventually – but I’m not buying that they’ve arrived.

            A good example, to me, is their high-speed rail system. When the Japanese built a high-speed rail system, it (to date) NEVER had a mishap. When the Chinese built a high-speed rail system – even standing on the shoulders of those who have done it before – it’s plagued with problems. Problems due to cost-cutting. The kind of problems that kill people. And high-speed rail is entirely their own doing – they didn’t have to cut corners to satisfy some contract targets drawn up by a penny-pinching MBA a continent away.

            China still seems to have too much of a quick-buck, cut-corners, lie-to-the-customer mentality. An American business mentality, if you will.

            And if I wanted that shit, why not buy from American businesses and at least support my neighbor’s job? ;-)

          • 0 avatar
            onyxtape

            When you farm out stuff there, they will make whatever you spec it to be. But that’s the key – you need to spec out EVERYTHING. Everything down to the screws and washers that they use, and someone needs to be over there to look after everything. Otherwise, “liberties” will be taken with everything to drive down cost.

            Then you realize that after all that’s said and done with all the overhead and supervision needed, you’re saving around 10%-15% at best. But that looks good to shareholders.

            I visited some Chinese car dealers in Latin America. They’re at least at about where Koreans were in the early 90s. It won’t take long for wide acceptance to happen at this pace.

        • 0 avatar
          jkross22

          How are the made in China motherboards in your keyboard, laptop, monitor, flat screen, cell phone, home appliances, camera, car, etc holding up?

          Junk is produced everywhere, as is quality stuff.

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            Most of the stuff you mentioned does not hold up well at all. They are designed to be disposable. I have no problem with that since the price went down with the quality. They break in a couple of years, and then get replaced with something that is way ahead in terms of technology. When a PC cost $4000 they lasted longer. In consumer electronics it’s a trade-off people prefer. People prefer cars to last long term, and the Chinese are not going to be offering this S60L for $15k where it could be marketed as a Bic-lighter of luxury cars. They will be 15% cheaper than the competitors.

            I’m not saying it will be bad. It will be interesting to see how this thing will perform and last.

        • 0 avatar
          Jacob

          There are a lot of quality products built in China. Some electronics products come to mind. The issue is that Chinese build what the West orders. For the most part, it’s the cheap stuff, which hurt the reputation of China. In reality, China has built for like a decade Audi, BMW, Mercedes, and Japanese cars for internal consumption.

          And in fact, China is technologically far more advanced overall than say Mexico. This specially becomes apparent if you look at their native semiconductor and electronics industry. For example, not only they manufacture computer CPUs, but they also own and develop their own designs, such as MIPS CPU family derivatives. They assemble the iphones and like 90+% of all electronics you buy at Best Buy, while the US has simply lost much of this manufacturing capability. Cut off all trade with Asia, and an iPhone will cost you like 2-3 grand a piece.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      Does it really matter that you wouldn’t buy this? Unless you were going to be a Volvo customer anyway it’s rather pointless what your thoughts are on a Chinese built car. The people who would actually buy a Volvo will likely not care.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        “The people who would actually buy a Volvo will likely not care.”

        I highly, highly disagree. Volvo customers are the kind of people who are personally conservative (in terms of $$$ and style) and politically liberal, a combination that doesn’t exactly mesh with the idea of buying something $$$ from a country with a pretty terrible record on workers’ rights, etc, and is not known for making reliable, durable goods.

        • 0 avatar
          bosozoku

          This is true for at least some of Volvo’s customers. I remember asking a college mentor of mine why he and his wife only bought Volvos.

          His response? Sweden was the only country mass producing cars whose government/industry hadn’t committed crimes against humanity. And Volvo, at the time, was the only Swedish-owned Swedish car maker (no amount of SAAB quirk-cred could overcome GM ownership).

          Weird logic, but at least it’s a reason. Most people just buy on looks and price.

          • 0 avatar
            bill h.

            He may have been right on a government policy standpoint, but maybe he didn’t remember that the original SAAB was/is a company that builds aircraft, missiles and other weaponry, as does other companies like Bofors. I wouldn’t be surprised if even Volvo’s industrial divisions have supplied militaries.

          • 0 avatar
            salhany

            If that’s his logic I hope for his sake he didn’t own a prev-gen S60. I owned one (great car) and it was built in Belgium.

        • 0 avatar
          jkross22

          How many politically liberal people do you know that own an iPhone?

          Now what was it that you were saying about those folks buying something from a country with a terrible record on workers rights?

        • 0 avatar
          tekdemon

          I would beg to differ since my girlfriend owns a Volvo and most definitely does not think of something being Chinese made as problematic. Frankly while I disagree with China’s heavy handed censorship and some of their trade policies, the overall living situation for people there is no worse in terms of human rights than many, many, many other places. You are much more likely to be shot by or otherwise brutalized by the police in the US than China, so while China is big on censoring names on the internet and locking up people who want another political party most people who care to find it easy to bypass that censorship and frankly most people are OK with a alone party system with multiple factions which is really not very different than a two party system in terms of choice.

          Anyways your entire point is ridiculous because anybody who would currently buy a Volvo would already be buying it from a Chinese owned company so how would the final point of production at all change their mind regardless of what they think about human rights? If you weren’t going to financially support China you wouldn’t buy a Volvo from a Chinese owned Volvo to start with. Why start nitpicking now?

          But why argue this, we will see in a very short period of time whether this hurts or helps sales. My guess is that a Volvo backed with lots of Chinese cash will make better cars and just like their iPhone people will not care that the cars are assembled in China except for a few fringe people. Volvo sales are so low that by yapping the mass market they’d easily make up for any fringe losses.

        • 0 avatar
          Jacob

          LOL, just lol. You should realize that the academics have dumped their Saabs and Volvos a decade ago, and now they drive hybrids. 20 years ago, a university parking lot looked like a Saab/Volvo dealership. Today it looks like a Toyota/Volt dealership. I see plenty of brand new Volvos in my neighborhood in Texas, and I do not live the a university town.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        When I was recently car shopping, the Volvo V60 made my short list. I chose not to buy it for several reasons, particularly price and ergonomics, and not just that Volvo was now owned by a Chinese company, but being owned by a Chinese company was still on the list.

    • 0 avatar

      s2K summed it up well you can build a quality product in Japan but it takes huge oversight and constant training to achieve. My experience with our suppliers is they will almost always try to cost costs unless you watch whats coming in (cheaper spec aluminum incorrect wire on electrical assy etc). I think this is changing but I know a few people who work in China and say the change in culture from we can build it cheaper to we can build it better is slow in coming.

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    I’ve always wanted a Chery!

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “CEOs and senior execs going on shopping runs to Staples”

    Oh dear, we’re very pleeb this morning. CEO’s and senior execs order in their supplies, delivered by Staples business delivery. They don’t have to shop for anything, and if there’s an emergency – their secretary will handle it.

    And they have a company paid E350 4MATIC.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      A8.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The largest-company CEO I’ve ever had a chance to meet personally drove a LS600hL.

      Judging by the “reserved parking” right by the elevator in downtown Seattle garages, here they mostly favor Lexus (mostly LS460s and ES350s) and Benz (mostly E-class). Audis are for middle-management strivers.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        Monday I was down the street from Motorola Solutions, sitting next to Greg Brown at a light, he in his MB S600 with heavily tinted windows, but I could still see him talking on his iPhone, not using bluetooth (illegal in IL, btw). Seemed fitting for a tech CEO (rolleyes).

      • 0 avatar
        bosozoku

        Seattle-area execs Bill Gates and Alan Mulally (while at Boeing) famously eschewed the German brands and heaped praise upon their “modest” Lexus LS’s.

      • 0 avatar
        onyxtape

        Years ago, I saw Bill and Melinda at the outlet mall north of Seattle (this was before Tulalip was built – I’m talking about the one in Burlington) in his LS400. He was hauling a college dorm fridge into the back seat.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    I’ve always had a soft spot for Volvos, but have avoided them because of their reputation of requiring even more maintenance than the German machines.

    I can only imagine what a Chinese manufactured machine maintenance record will be.

    • 0 avatar
      OneAlpha

      I’ll tell you what – I’ve had my 850 Turbo since 2010, and it has 205,000 miles on it and works flawlessly. It’s my daily driver and I’ve driven it across the country twice.

      I actually have to get out my notes when I work on it because it needs maintenance so infrequently that I actually forget specific repair procedures.

      Granted, it’s a half-bitch to work on when it does need something, but that car has completely eliminated any fear I once had of buying an old German machine.

      I love it, and I’ll never sell it.

    • 0 avatar
      salhany

      On my second Volvo now, owned one for the past 8 years. Mine have been pretty much bulletproof.

  • avatar
    vvk

    Tiny windows.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    I have no problem with the concept of a car manufactured in China being sold in America. I still think the Chinese are incapable (for now!) of designing a vehicle from the ground up that would meet the standards of the American public, but I don’t see any reason why they could not competently assemble a vehicle designed elsewhere (in a place where they have a bit more experience at it.)

    That said, there’s no way Volvo is currently making money here, and there’s zero chance this vehicle will be some sort of runaway hit. Do they cling to still selling cars here out of stubborn pride? Because it ain’t for the money.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Volvo globally might generate profit, and if it did not it will once Chinese assembled local models come online. US will most likely be a wash.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      A lot of the parts currently used in ‘Merikan trucks & cars come shipped as plug & play components to ‘Merikan assembly plants now, anyways.

      If the end retail customer of said vehicles incorporating said parts is lucky, they will receive at least a fine tooth comb QC inspection, and maybe even some “reworking/fixing/adjustments” before being utilized.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        And if the company doing the Chinese assembly is Chinese-owned, I don’t trust there is anyone present to hold their feel to the fire on QA/Qc, etc. In my experience of procuring material from China, they do fine on the quality front IF they think you’re paying attention. The moment they think you aren’t, they start using lower-grade materials, not rejecting out of spec parts, etc. As said above, who is there to prevent them from doing this when there’s no non-Chinese between you and the manufacturer?

        • 0 avatar
          wolfinator

          Exactly. Sorry, my experience with Chinese-direct goods is too tainted by Harbor Freight and Amazon.

          And unlike Harbor Freight, I don’t trust myself to be able to pick through a lot of Volvos until I find the single one that should have passed QC…

          Yeah, Apples and Oranges, cheap goods vs high-priced blah blah – the point is, the only time I have good experience with Chinese goods is when there’s some sort of QC filter in place between me and the factory. I have a lot of Chinese stuff that I’m satisfied with – but it was manufactured by an entity that presumably did QC, or I had very low expectations.

  • avatar
    wsn

    The Chinese assembled Volvos would actually be better built than their European counterparts. Why? Low labor cost. They certainly have more man-hours allocated inspecting and fixing flaws, like the old Mercedes way.

    • 0 avatar
      schmitt trigger

      “They certainly have more man-hours allocated inspecting and fixing flaws”

      Two inspectors and one rework person for each assembly worker.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I think it will hinge on two things: method of manufacture and quality of materials. The Chinese could employ a superior method of manufacture (ie lean production) but if they cheap out on the materials the product will not succeed. Vice-versa, they could use proper materials but manufacture it inefficiently (i.e. Detroit). Assuming the same cost, the models will at least be profitable due to much lower labor costs, but still may fail in the marketplace if the method of manufacture and materials are not up to spec.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        Except the consumer is not an idiot, he’s going to know that Volvo is made in China, and therefore he’s going to expect/demand a commensurate reduction in purchase price. You might buy a Chinese-made 3-series, but you’re certainly not going to expect to pay Euro-made prices for it. Maybe the consumer expects a 20% price reduction and it’s a 50% cost savings reduction, so they win. Or maybe the consumer expects a 50% price reduction and it’s a 20% price reduction, so they lose. Who knows.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I agree with you but at the same time you’re not getting a price reduction in Mexican assembled product vs US/Canadian/Japanese assembly. Did Honda lower the price of the Fit when they moved it to Mexico?

          MY12
          $11,505–$18,441

          MY15
          $15,525–$19,800

          http://www.cars.com/honda/fit/2012/snapshot
          http://www.cars.com/honda/fit/2015/snapshot

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            Mexico ain’t China, and a $15k Fit ain’t a $50k Volvo.

            There may be a market for a Chinese made car in America.

            There almost certainly isn’t a market for a $50k (or $40k or $30k) Chinese made car in America.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “Mexico ain’t China, and a $15k Fit ain’t a $50k Volvo.”

            They do sell Chinese made Honda Fits in Canada and they aren’t any cheaper than the models sold in the US from Japan or Mexico. Probably because China offers no advantage in manufacturing vehicles for the North American market over Mexico where assembly costs are comparable or even less in some cases.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          No one except a few eccentrics is going to pay the slightest bit of attention to where the car is assembled. If you asked 100 2014 Camry owners today where their cars were assembled, 85 of them would say “Japan” even though the company has been loudly touting the Camry as US-built for 20+ years.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            That’s different than China though. This is a game changer, and the business and automotive world will be watching it closely. It’s either going to fail epically, or it’s going to be the nose in the tent for a paradigm shift. Either way, only a fool would think no one will notice.

          • 0 avatar
            bosozoku

            I lived in Georgetown, KY aka “Home of the Camry”. People I met that lived within walking distance of the plant often didn’t realize that it was the Camry being produced there. Many folks in nearby Lexington had no idea Toyota was building cars down the street in the first place.

          • 0 avatar
            wolfinator

            Yup. A disturbing number of BMW/VW owners think their car was made in Germany, even if it was made in Mexico or the US…

            “But the ad said ‘German Engineering!\'”

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Because they cannot differentiate the terms “engineering” and “production/manufacture?”

          • 0 avatar
            SayMyName

            “No one except a few eccentrics is going to pay the slightest bit of attention to where the car is assembled. If you asked 100 2014 Camry owners today where their cars were assembled, 85 of them would say “Japan” even though the company has been loudly touting the Camry as US-built for 20+ years.”

            Don’t be so sure of that. I suspect the first Chinese-made automobile sold in the United States WILL be a big deal, receiving significant media coverage… and not just on Fox News, either.

            Our society of dullards likely won’t be able to remember or understand the finer points, but they will “know” from that point forward that Volvo = China.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Does anyone remember when BMWs started coming over from South Africa?

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I think there might be a news story on it one night and then everyone will forget again.

            Don’t get me wrong, a S60L is not going to be a monster success. But Chinese assembly won’t be the reason why (unless it leads to obvious and quickly visible quality issues).

        • 0 avatar
          LeMansteve

          Unless there is data proving the car is 20% more likely to be a POS than a Euro-assembled car, nobody is going to hand out discounts just because something is made in China.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            Are customers going to pay Made-in-Europe (ie, BMW/MB/Audi) prices for a Made-in-China Volvo? I don’t think so.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Agree with S2k. If it’s not cheaper, why not get something from a prestigious (known to quality manufacture) country?

            This issue came up once in a real-world appliance situation (and I think we can agree most people view their car as an appliance). Rowenta makes clothes irons in both Germany and China. The Chinese ones are not cheaper, so when I was shopping for them on Amazon, I made sure to get a German one – because Germany.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I agree with you LeMansteve, but as a consumer I want that discount.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Why do we assume that a product’s country of origin determines its quality? 30 years ago, Americans thought that ‘Made in Japan’ meant lousy quality. Then we thought about Taiwan, then Korea, and now China.

          At the end of the day, I am much more interested in the company and factory’s quality assurance processes than the race or country of the assembly line worker.

          Why would anyone think that Sweden – home to a miniscule industrial base – is a better place to manufacture cars, especially given that China is the #1 market for cars and the world’s manufacturing heartland.

          I respect S2K Chris for at least admitting his was a racist view.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            Because China has a long history of exporting pure garbage. The only thing mitigating it is A) most of the stuff we buy from them we have low expectations for anyways, and B) most of the time we’re buying a non-Chinese branded product and that brand is doing QA and standing behind their product. I’ve bought/received 5 smart phones in my life, 2 have been DOA. The only saving grace was that I was able to hand it back over and a fresh one placed in my greasy palm. Try that with a car.

            My “I’m racist” point was not to say I am, in fact, racist; I’ve got no real beef with the Chinese. But the bleeding heart PC crowd doesn’t like to hear the very real reality that China has a culture where it is quite acceptable to lie, cheat, and steal if you can get away with it. They truly believe it’s the “victim’s” fault for not paying close enough attention. For all their faults, Korea, Japan, etc, does not have this culture. China does. It will be their downfall.

          • 0 avatar
            rmmartel

            and thirty (likely more) years ago it was true. I know the Korean bikes I used to build in the eighties (Kia!) were absolute crap.

            China is already doing what the other cheap producers did before them – move up the food chain. Corporations will not sit still for that and move production to the next “cheap” country.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Chris,
            Thanks for the clarification. I definitely hear you – there is a lot of stuff coming over from China with more focus on cost than quality.

            Manufacturers that want to compete on a global scale need to instill cultures that prioritize quality. That’s true in China, as well as elsewhere (i.e., Detroit). You see companies like Huawei, Foxconn and Vizio that are moving up the charts.

            I think Geely gets it – that they cannot compete in the (near) luxury category with subpar quality. A lousy S60L will kill the Volvo brand faster than anything.

            We’ll have to wait and see.

          • 0 avatar
            tremorcontrol

            hahahahaha!: “I’m not a racist, but let me tell you about an entire population, their culture, and what ‘they’ all believe based on my isolated personal experience.” Classic.

            “China has a culture where it is quite acceptable to lie, cheat, and steal if you can get away with it. They truly believe it’s the “victim’s” fault for not paying close enough attention.” –S2K Chris

            Who exactly are “they”? Everyone in China?

            “…a culture where it is quite acceptable to lie, cheat, and steal if you can get away with it” –> uh, isn’t that the fundamental approach of the US banking industry?

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “hahahahaha!: “I’m not a racist, but let me tell you about an entire population, their culture, and what ‘they’ all believe based on my isolated personal experience.” Classic.

            “China has a culture where it is quite acceptable to lie, cheat, and steal if you can get away with it. They truly believe it’s the “victim’s” fault for not paying close enough attention.” –S2K Chris

            Who exactly are “they”? Everyone in China?

            “…a culture where it is quite acceptable to lie, cheat, and steal if you can get away with it” –> uh, isn’t that the fundamental approach of the US banking industry?”

            Tell me I’m wrong, bro. A huge part of my job at three different F500 companies has been dealing with Chinese suppliers, and every single one has tried to rob me blind at some point.

        • 0 avatar
          onyxtape

          US consumers get African-made 3-series and they don’t get a discount for those.

        • 0 avatar

          “You might buy a Chinese-made 3-series, but you’re certainly not going to expect to pay Euro-made prices for it.”

          You will if it’s all that’s available.

        • 0 avatar
          Jacob

          Funny. Then how come Americans are paying just fine, through their nose, for hecho en Mexico German cars? And since when Europe is the golden standard for quality and reliability of manufactured cars? If you want that, you buy the Japanese top 3, regardless of where they’re built.

          • 0 avatar

            Exactly. I got a Jetta SportWagen this summer, which is one of the cars made at the Puebla factory. It’s not as though I had the option of buying a European-built one, and I’ve not seen any evidence that the Mexican-built VW’s are any worse than the European-built ones…

          • 0 avatar

            @ Kyree: As far as I’m aware, there is (or at least has been historically) significant evidence that the Mexican VWs are worse in terms of build quality than the European-built ones. Specifically, the issues seem to centre around poorly fitting trim, and things falling apart more readily.

            I’m surprised your research didn’t reveal this.

          • 0 avatar

            @EChild—I definitely read up on it, but no one has produced what I would consider to be concrete evidence that the Mexican-built models are worse. Most people seemed to be speculating or were simply repulsed at the idea of a German car made in Mexico. Plus, with the current Jetta SportWagen at the end of its life, my hope is that the final ones would be better-put-together than the earlier ones. But we shall see.

            Either way, I’ll never buy a brand-new car again, so my next VW Group product likely will have 45K-60K miles on it at purchase time, at which point build quality will be readily apparent.

  • avatar
    Lampredi

    Mark my words, this is the beginning of the end of Volvos being manufactured in Sweden, just wait and see.

  • avatar
    frozenman

    It used to be that part of the charm of Volvo was the connection to the Swedes in a cool IKEA sort of way, now it is becoming another chinese knock off. It’s like they are trying to use some slight-of-hand as to what this brand is all about any more.

    • 0 avatar
      bosozoku

      IKEA is somehow still cool even though they seem to almost exclusively sell low-quality products made in China. Maybe Volvo is just following a new Swedish trend.

      • 0 avatar
        wolfinator

        I suddenly had a mental image of an unassembled Volvo distributed across six flat-pack boxes.

        Along with 90 pages of tiny instructions and a stubby allen wrench.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        IKEA is only cool when you can only afford IKEA.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Ikea! For when you want a leather couch but cannot afford leather, and don’t have enough room for a couch.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            IKEA sells a broad range of products, from cheap crap at a cheap price to pretty nice stuff at a fairly stiff price.

            The issue is that if you like their STYLE of furniture, your choice is IKEA or ludicrously expensive specialty furniture shops. So a large part of my house is IKEA furnished simply because I like the look. And it IS cheap enough that if you do damage something, you can just replace it. I’d cry if I damaged a $2000 Swedish-modern coffee table, but I have no problem building models on my $200 looks-just-like-it IKEA version. If I screw it up I can buy 9 more for the price. And Billy bookcases are just brilliant for the price, regardless of where they are made.

          • 0 avatar

            My bed, mattress, nightstand, cookware and dinnerware are all from IKEA, because I love their Swedish style.

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      The funny thing is that IKEA is a perfect example of cheap low quality Chinese-built garbage. Even furniture I can buy at Sam’s club feels better than the IKEA stuff. IKEA is the Walmart of furniture really. The only difference is that you get a fairly broad selection. But it’s still not very good quality IMO.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        My experience with IKEA has been that it’s crap: cheap material, parts not fitting, parts missing, and low durability. I’ve had much better luck with competing Wal-Mart stuff (e.g., Sauder).

        I don’t believe everything IKEA sells is bad, and I’m not knocking their style if you’re into that look. I’m just saying that the manufacturing quality of pieces I’ve put together for family & friends has been garbage.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    Being anon is convenient here, so I will subscribe to the bigoted notion of drawing that line in the sand and saying NFW I am driving a Chinese-made car. It’s enough that every kitchen appliance I bought three years ago broke at least once, or is showing serious signs of wear that I did not know existed (plastic cover on stove knobs is bubbling, I thought they were still aluminum). It’s enough that those cheap Home Depot tools are just barely suitable for the task. It’s enough that Chinese-made stainless steel boat hardware drips rust. I also followed a few boat-building enterprises that were started by Westerners in China and they didn’t go anywhere fast.

    The difference with Apple building iphones there, which are clearly of very high quality, is that those operations have practically eliminated manual labor. Not so with a car. Plus you can mess up the steel formula or paint operation and no one will notice, not until you crash it or see rust in 5 years.

    Basically, it seems to me, the Chinese motto is to do it “just well enough”. That’s not how I think of a Volvo.

    Yes, I am sure it all can apply to Mexico as well. But at least we are not deep in trade deficit to that country as compared to China.

    In conclusion I say, Be American – Buy Toyota/Honda/Huyndai/BMW/MB/Subaru/Etc. that are made in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      bosozoku

      “the Chinese motto is to do it ‘just well enough\'”

      Still better than Detroit’s slogan during the 70s-00s: “Not Quite Good Enough”.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Are you implying that everyone from British Leyland now works in China!?

        • 0 avatar
          Zykotec

          I have good reason to believe that under British management the motto for British Leyland was ‘The manager below me has spoken to the manager below him who has been in conctact with the people in quality control, and he says we don’t have any problems’
          All the actual workers now build good quality Hondas/Nissans and Toyotas.

    • 0 avatar
      Vega

      “The difference with Apple building iphones there, which are clearly of very high quality, is that those operations have practically eliminated manual labor.”

      You couldn’t be more wrong…

      http://www.patentlyapple.com/.a/6a0120a5580826970c01a3fd23dae7970b-800wi

      If production was almost completely automated, there wouldn’t be a cost advantage for chinese manufacture.

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      Please show me an American-made kitchen appliance that lasts longer than a Chinese-built one, but does not cost 10 times more. Here is a truth, just because you have encountered plenty of low quality Chinese built products, does not mean that Chinese can’t produce high quality products. They simply built what the West orders. To Apple, they deliver what Apple ordered, and to Walmart and Target, they deliver what those ordered. And to the high end western audio equipment company whose products I use, they again deliver what was ordered. Very high quality (top quality I must say).

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        I’ve worked with guys who were in the appliance business. Some of their products were made in the US, and others in China. They absolutely swear that the US-made ones are so far superior to the Chinese ones that you shouldn’t even consider them to be the same brand.

        But then again, because of the manufacturing cost differences, the good designs go to the US-made line while the average designs go to the Chinese plants. They are fundamentally different products.

        In short, yes there is a difference between the US-made & Chinese-made products, but no, it’s not clear if it’s due to where they’re made.

  • avatar
    STRATOS

    Its just a matter of time before China made Audi and Mercedes hit the North American showrooms. These particular Volvos may not be such great values, but i don’t believe American consumers will be able to resist buying their bargain luxury models.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Why would Volvo sell this for less just because it is made in China? Making it in China means that Volvo might actually be able to make a profit on it at their normal prices. Something that has almost never been true for their European production.

      • 0 avatar
        Jacob

        Indeed. I have encountered some German car fetishists on forums who buy a German car when only made in Germany, and Japanese car fetishists who buy a Lexus or Acura only when made in Japan, but they’re the utter minority. I am surprised by the number of hecho en Mexico luxury cars already sold in USA. People really don’t care.

  • avatar

    Ever notice that just as a manufacturer’s product becomes less and less tied to that country, the nationalistic fervor of the product is more hyped?

    Volvo’s ads play up the Sweedish connection with the accented voiceover.
    Chrysler’s ads play up RAH RAH MURICA DON’T LOOK AT WHERE THE MONEY GOES.

    Go figure.

    • 0 avatar
      bosozoku

      VW’s vamping up of their “German Engineering” started right around the time they started building most of their US models in Mexico.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Very true. I’m gonna put HEARTBEAT OF AMERICA decals on an old Subaru. Really confuse people.

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      I started noticing this when VW’s commercials started emphasizing the German engineering and stuff a couple of years ago. The funniest one was advertizing the German sounding thump when you close the door. The reality already was that most VW cars sold were hecho en Mexico or the US.

  • avatar
    HydrogenOnion

    “As for quality, product development chief Peter Mertens said the longer S60 fared better than the European-built standard model based on the company’s internal quality audits.”

    That remains to be seen once they have been on the road for a few years.

    • 0 avatar
      wolfinator

      That sort of anecdote isn’t terribly useful without knowing what their internal quality audits were auditing.

      Also, initial quality and durability are two different things. And the latter is exactly where a lot of Chinese goods let me down.

  • avatar
    JohnnyFirebird

    We’re not getting the S60L in Canada, and I think they’ll be pretty rare in the US. There are good things assembled in China (like my smart phone and game consoles) and Sweden isn’t shutting down their factories any time soon, they just made a huge investment out there gearing for the new SPA chassis. This is more along the lines of “Well, we’re already building this for the Chinese market, maybe the United States will like it too.”

    Personally I’d prefer the S80 T6 AWD over an S60L.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    Ask chefs whether they want Wusthof knives or Chinese made Henckel knives. Or Silit pans or Chinese made pans of dubious materials and construction. The people who care what goes into the products they use will definitely care.

    Similarly, Canon would have a very hard time getting its customers to pay top dollar for Chinese made L glass. A $200 Canon Powershot can be made anywhere, and no one will care. A $2,000 Canon 85mm F1.2 L though had better say “Made in Japan” on it.

    I don’t think Chinese built Volvos are going to fall to pieces like a British Leyland car from the ’70s. I wouldn’t be surprised at all though if there are cases of lower grade materials being substituted.

    If the choice is between a Korean built Hyundai Genesis or Chinese built Volvo S80, I’m going Hyundai.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Well I should hope so on the Genesis – it’s at least been updated in the past couple years! And has a better warranty.

    • 0 avatar
      HerrKaLeun

      I don’t think peole buying printers care. Most are leased and under service contract anyway. And manufacturers like Canon have multiple factories. When you order you don’t know what factory that one came from untill it arrives.

      Worktools like printers are bought by brand, ink cost , brand reputation etc. Since everyone already suspects electronic to come from China, no one is disappointed.

      The people in line for iPhone 6 didn’t seem to care… and neither about the working conditions and human right violations.

      • 0 avatar
        turboprius

        There are some good Chinese tech companies, like Oppo and Lenovo. My M7 was built in Taiwan (still China); I’ve had it for six months, and no issues at all. The Nexus 9 will hopefully get the six year olds off of their iPads.

    • 0 avatar
      Vega

      As long as western companies enforce quality and specifications there is not going to be a difference.
      That problem is not limited to China by the way. When BMW started US production in Spartanburg they built a special tent in Munich to patch up the Z3s imported from America, which in the beginning had a multitude of production quality issues.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      This is a fallacy though, the Chinese made Henckels are purposely designed out of cheaper and inferior materials by Henckels themselves. There are in fact very good forged knives that are made in China and if you know anything about swords, some of the best modern day swords are also made in China. But they are not cheap. Henckels is just selling out their brand name to hit a price point that’s not a decision that the Chinese made, Henckels made that decision then told their Chinese factories to make cheapo knives for a price point so they could cash in on their name. There are very good Chinese knives made of very good steel but they are the ones that Chinese companies design for use in Chinese cooking and cost just as much as any fancy German knife does. You don’t see these because there is no demand here for $300 Chinese made cleavers.

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        You’re conflating price and quality. Just because the local-market stuff costs the same as an import doesn’t mean it’s any good. In fact, needing to market it as “designed for Chinese cooking” seems to imply it isn’t.

        Put another way: is a Park Avenue suddenly a great car just because it costs $70 large or whatever in Beijing?

        • 0 avatar
          tekdemon

          I am not conflating price and quality, they are excellent knives and if you did your research you’d know that arguably the best scissor manufacturer in the world is Chinese. And Chinese cooking uses very different knives than western cooking, you just don’t know what you’re talking about. Just like how a wok doesn’t look like a western skillet the knives used in Chinese cooking don’t look like a chefs knife. They usually use heavy duty cleavers that are still light enough to maneuver but strong enough to break through bone when dealing with meat and a good knife that is capable of both is neither easy to manufacture nor cheap.

          Most Chinese style cleavers sold in the US are terrible versus what is available in the Chinese market, just like how you cannot buy high end Chinese tea in the US because there is no demand here.

  • avatar
    STRATOS

    There are too many automobile brands in China today .Their government has told them they need to reduce them .Also admitted they are not quite ready for the north american debut .(assault).They do not want a slow start due to quality issues like the koreans and japanese had at the biginning.They need recognizable brands like VOLVO,MG,SAAB,FISKER,they already own and others.They really don’t want to mess this up,because they feel you only get one chance at this.I am sure this VOLVO will have no issues,but it will be a test.Chinese car companies do have an advantage ,because they have multiple foreign companies as partners ,they know the ins and outs of all makes.Not just the old models.They will have the same strict emission requirements as Europe .

  • avatar
    RHD

    Chinese factories do have quality control – that’s the guy who works 16 hours a day slapping little yellow
    “QC: Passed” stickers on everything that comes down the assembly line.

  • avatar
    L'avventura

    As the US has had a huge automotive ‘tariff war’ with China over the last few years, with having China imposing a antidumping tariffs on top of existing tariff on American-made cars with engines over 2.5 liters.

    Its only recently been settled with the US getting a favorable judgement from the WTO.

    As the pendulum swings the other direction, with China not fearing US imports of cars, but rather the US fearing Chinese-made cars. I wonder if there will be retaliatory tariffs on America’s end?

    The US imposed tariff’s on Chinese made tires, even though it was largely ineffective in stopping 50 million Chinese tires from being sold in the US.

  • avatar
    hifi

    I grew up in a house that always had at least one volvo. Now Volvo might as well be dead.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I’ve owned nine of them over the past 25 years, but they have not made a car I would buy since 1995. But it has nothing to do with who owns Volvo, or where they are made, it is all about the product.

      • 0 avatar
        hifi

        I think the wagon is stunning. Volvos have never been the best cars at anything except for maybe safety. I can buy an iPhone or a DVD player made in China. Because when it fails after a year, and they all do, it’s disposable. But I won’t buy Chinese clothes, building supplies, food or vehicles. The Chinese don’t have any integrity, and have proven that they can’t be trusted.

  • avatar
    LectroByte

    CEOs and Senior Execs drive MKTs? FoMoCo appreciates the plug, but you need to get out more, anybody second-line and above has at least a C-class or an A6, and a Tahoe/Denali for tailgating/kid hauling/family truckstering.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    At least this experiment is being conducted on a dead brand.

    Those of us who owned classic 1- and 2-series boxes have long since completed the grieving process and can now take a detached bystander’s interest in how the Chinese attempt to reanimate the corpse.

    For over a decade Volvos have looked like Koreans designed them so who cares if Chinese now build them?

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