By on May 26, 2015

2015 Volvo S60 Sedan

Proving the first Chinese cars to come to America will be imported by established brands, Volvo has a number of S60 sedans on the boat from China and they’re expected to arrive in about two months.

Manufacturing in China is just one part of Volvo’s plan to boost sales to 800,000 units annually before 2020.

The S60s bound for the United States are built in the Chinese city of Chengdu before transported to Shanghai for export. Volvo also produces the XC60 in Chengdu. Another plant in Daqing builts the previous generation XC90 that Volvo markets as the XC90 Classic.

Volvo did not say how many cars it plans to export from China, Automotive News Europe reports.

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101 Comments on “Chinese-Built Volvo S60 Sedans to Arrive in U.S. in “About Two Months”...”


  • avatar
    MPAVictoria

    I would never buy a Volvo built in China. More importantly my wife wouldn’t either. This is a bad idea and will hurt Volvo in North America.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Yeah, the last thing you want to do is avail yourself of the greatest manufacturing center in the world and the largest auto market.

    • 0 avatar
      Gregg

      I would. Volvo has done a much better job since Ford unloaded it. They are not going to sell junk, when they begin sales of this model. Remember when Japanese meant cheap? I do. Remember when Korean cars were poor substitutes? I do. Volvo is not starting that way. This is a brand which sells to affluent Chinese. It will be good. They know enough not to repeat the long re-evaluation of other Asian brands introduced here. Ok, attack away. But this model will be fine and will be backed by a great warranty.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      My Chinese-built Macbook Pro seems to be of very high quality, as is my Chinese-built Android phone.

      I think I’d try a Chinese-built car, if it came with an good warranty, had good reliability ratings, and otherwise checked all of the boxes — which is the same criteria I have for cars built anywhere. It can’t possibly be worse than my 2001 VW Jetta.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        “My Chinese-built Macbook Pro seems to be of very high quality”

        And that’s because it has Apple’s QA team watching the assembly process like hawks.

        An American, etc, company building something in China with the associated QA efforts is very different than a Chinese company building Chinese goods and selling them without Western QA.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          This. Take your eyes off the production line, and watch cheap knock-off parts start sneaking in, untraceable steel, etc. That’s how business is done there.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Oh the irony… Volvo’s main claim to fame is safety, but cheap and unsafe is the reputation of products from China. So how is Volvo going to solve this perception problem?

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      There wont be a perception problem. Nobody cares that their iPhone was made in China and once they see these Volvos in person, nobody will care about them either.

      You see, they are an extended wheelbase version with a top-shelf interior. That’s the only option. They will be the nicest cars in the showroom, right up there with the new XC90.

      It’s not just another Volvo, but from China. It’s a limo from Volvo with a reasonable price.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        IPhones? No.

        $50,000 cars? Yes.

        (At least for now)

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          It’s truly an odd thing that people think that high quality cars come from Sweden, but assume anything from China is low quality.

          China will manufacture more cars this year than the entire history of manufactured cars in Sweden, but that probably not relevant.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “It’s truly an odd thing that people think that high quality cars come from Sweden, but assume anything from China is low quality.”

            Is it? Remember the poison dog food from Sweden? Remember the bad drywall from Sweden? Remember the toys with lead paint from Sweden? Remember the toxic babyfood from Sweden? Remember the Swedesh bridge that collapsed and it turned out it was made of garbage with a little concrete over it?

            Oh wait. Those were all in China. “Goes to pattern of behavior, your honor.”

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            That’s a rather broad brush you’re painting with, Chris.

            I am old enough to remember when “Made in Japan” meant it was garbage. And then, Toyota, Sony, Honda.
            And then it was “Made in Korea” meant it was trash. And then, Samsung, Hyundai, LG.
            Then, “Made in Taiwan” was a code word for garbage, until Acer, Foxconn, Advanced Semiconductor.

            See a pattern here? Why don’t we delay the lynching a few months and see what quality actually comes out of China?

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            ” That’s a rather broad brush you’re painting with, Chris.

            I am old enough to remember when “Made in Japan” meant it was garbage. And then, Toyota, Sony, Honda.
            And then it was “Made in Korea” meant it was trash. And then, Samsung, Hyundai, LG.
            Then, “Made in Taiwan” was a code word for garbage, until Acer, Foxconn, Advanced Semiconductor.

            See a pattern here? Why don’t we delay the lynching a few months and see what quality actually comes out of China?”

            Like I said, China has a culture where lying, cheating, and stealing is allowed and encouraged in order to get ahead. They also have very little in the way of patent and IP protection. These are conditions not present in Japan, and generally not in Korea. Apologies to those that find this offensive, but all of my research and my moderately extensive professional experience proves it true.

        • 0 avatar
          TMA1

          Don’t iPhones need to be replaced after two years? Some quality. I hope the cars last longer.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    I’m sure that this is to BS’ everlasting chagrin, but here we are in 2015 and still NO Chinese-built GM cars in the United States. So much for that prediction.

    FWIW, the Chinese can build anything as good as anything built elsewhere. Where do you think all of your iPhones come from? With the right assembly system a Chinese built Volvo will be the same as a Swedish-built Volvo (or even a South African-built one for that matter)…

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      Nobody rides a phone or relies on one to safely convey themselves and others from one place to another. Classic apples and oranges.

      How do you feel about getting on a Chinese-made commercial jet?

      • 0 avatar

        The issue isn’t where its made, but rather what quality measures were taken in the actual factory. Volvo knows it has a high standard to meet, so it will work hard to meet it. Honda knew it couldn’t drop its game in Mexico too. People seem to confuse the fact that a country has a reputation for manufacturing junk with the idea that it therefore can’t manufacture anything but junk. The reality is that it depends entirely on the manufacturer and the processes in place.

        Think about the Fords and Hondas manufactured in the UK. Build quality is excellent, no one questions that. If British Leyland was overseeing everything? We’d have a different story.

        • 0 avatar
          319583076

          Agreed – to an extent. My personal concern is more aligned with issues PeriSoft identified: namely that Chinese culture doesn’t seem to be immediately amenable to first-world, westernized quality practices and therefore, quality problems (that can manifest as safety issues) may manifest in their products. In my experience, Mexicans don’t have the same concept of “face” that Chinese do and are willing to accept criticism and training in addition to identifying problems.

          I doubt I’ll ever own a Volvo, let alone a Chinese-built Volvo.

          • 0 avatar
            Chan

            What about a culture that doesn’t push its children to excel in school? We buy tons of Fords that were built there.

            1. Generalisation
            2. Not directly related to management of supplier and production QC

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Many of us ride on Brazilian jets every week. So what?

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          “Volvo knows it has a high standard to meet, so it will work hard to meet it.”

          Volvo is now Chinese owned, and I don’t trust the Chinese to not cut corners.

          Chinese-made product from non-Chinese company: cautiously accept.

          Chinese-made product from Chinese company: kill it with fire.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I have been on a Chinese-made commercial jet.

        McDonnell Douglas planned to start production in China and actually built two MD-90s there. Both of them are now flying for Delta and have been flying without incident for about 15 years. It’s indistinguishable from any other MD-90 jet.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Interesting.

        • 0 avatar
          319583076

          Is Volvo building 2 cars under a microscope or are they launching full scale auto production?

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Presumably they built a bunch of prototypes under a microscope before launching production.

            MD cancelled their China program when they merged with Boeing. The MD-90 wasn’t competitive with Boeing’s 737-800.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’m not sure how accurate the second part was since Boeing kept building the MD-90 successor MD-95 as the Boeing 717 until 2005.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_717

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            My post said, and meant, “MD-90.” The MD-95/717 was not a successor to the MD-90, but a smaller derivative meant for a different market.

            The 717 was more competitive than the MD-90, but a combination of NIH syndrome (an unrealized wish to sell more Boeing-developed 737-600s) and the threat from large regional jets ultimately killed it.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Fair enough.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            MD messed up by not doing a clean sheet commercial aircraft since what, the DC-10 in the 60s?

            One would hope that the Chinese got the MD90 right, since it’s basically a big DC-9 that first flew in the mid-60s. Too bad the S60 isn’t on the P/D platform. That would give it even more similarities to the MD90.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            McDonnell Douglas was near bankrupt by the merger, IIRC. I seem to recall reading a business article where Boeing shareholders felt they were swindled in the deal. When you have no money you ride out what you do have, Chrysler the K car, and Volvo the P2/P3.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The MD/Boeing merger was a funny thing.

            MD was, as bball said, driven nearly to extinction by its failure to make any major investments in product. The root of the MD-90’s uncompetitiveness was a too-small wing that was a close relative of the DC-9 wing designed in the ’60s. Meanwhile the A320 was all-new in the late ’80s, and the 737NG had an all-new wing designed in the mid-’90s. Similarly, the MD-11 widebody couldn’t compete with the A340 and 777, mostly because of an antiquated wing.

            Yet MD managers were overrepresented in the post-merger company, because of the financial discipline they supposedly brought. And, what do you know, they nearly brought the company to its knees by trying to reinvent both the airplane and airplane manufacturing at the same time on a shoestring budget with the 787 program. The 787 turned into a good airplane but it was three years late, literally tens of billions over budget, and had severe teething problems for its first couple years in service.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      I’ve worked with Foxconn, the contract manufacturer that builds iPhones along with a large percentage of Cisco products. Foxconn is actually a Taiwanese company with factories in China. The engineer from Taiwan that I worked with was excellent. I had a much harder time communicating with the factory engineers, but quality of the manufactured product was good.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    I don’t think it’s impossible for the Chinese to produce a good vehicle, certainly not when it was designed by Volvo, but what I *would* worry about is that, unbeknownst to Volvo execs or even the top-level Chinese manufacturing guys, some dude who used to work for Geely and now acquires the steel says, “Jeez, this stuff is three times as expensive as what I used to get in my old job! I can save a TON of money!” and bam, the first one that’s in an accident folds up like a tin can.

    When you have situations like with Takata, a company that’s from a culture where shipping crap-that-will-kill-people *should be a problem*, and it ends up happening anyway and is subsequently covered up, I’d be pretty leery of buying a product originating in a place where the existing corporate culture is absolutely renowned for viewing basic competence in construction as an afterthought. No matter how much Volvo tries to make sure it’s not a problem, I’m not quite ready to stake my family’s life on their having figured it out.

    In a few years, maybe. Not yet.

  • avatar
    fozone

    Chinese assembly is not a problem in and of itself.

    The problem is that Volvos have been ludicrously overpriced for some time.

    Unless Chinese manufacturing allows them to pass the savings onto consumers and significantly cut their price (down to where actual customers will pay for their cars), this is going to be pointless.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      My experience shopping Volvo is that they are not as expensive as BMW or Audi. What they didn’t do is allow much negotiation. Nor do they have discount leases like BMW. Maybe this will allow some movement but I don’t think Volvo wants to abandon the (semi)premium niche they are in now.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      Nope. Cut the price and they lose any appearance of being a premium brand anymore. Better to claim quality in the face of failure than admit it’s cheap Chinese crap and lower the price. You can’t come back from that.

      If the quality is similar, all is good. If not, stop the program and start over.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        The beatings will continue until morale improves.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        No way on earth is anyone (except maybe Chinese) are paying European/Japanese/American prices for a Chinese-made car. And if they do they’re a moron who didn’t do their research.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I feel the same way, yet the proles buy Hecho en Mexico in droves. See you’re not allowed to care where your products are assembled anymore. You get to pay more and like your third world assembly. Forward [Soviet]!

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            My caring level increases right along with the price.

            Do I care if a $20,000 Golf is made in Mexico? No. Do I care if a $50,000 MKZ is made there? Yep.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I see your point of view, and I’ll add another: resale. High priced product plus third world assembly might equal abysmal resale (if Zephyr is any guide). The only way to test it for sure would be to take a brand with high resale and build one model in a less desirable location.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The MKZ doesn’t have garbage resale values because it’s Hencho en Mexico. It has garbage resale values because it’s a Lincoln not named Navigator.

            BMW, Audi, and Mercedes are going to start build vehicles in Mexico and they won’t have that problem.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            More complicated than that, the single best way to improve Zephyr resale from a percentage standpoint is to remember it is an improved Fusion and lower the price. Actual new buyers might step in the mid 30s but at near 50K its an extremely tough sell and either Ford will require hefty money down to lease or they’ll take a bath on the residuals. The reason for the steep curve is the market knows its a Fusion and will pay Fusion money + a slight premium (at least after year one). The drop won’t be as steep with a lower price.

            “BMW, Audi, and Mercedes are going to start build vehicles in Mexico”

            We’ll see, won’t we?

            I argue much like society, luxury auto product is significantly devolving. I haven’t seen the FWD BMWs yet but we know the FWD Mercedes is utter junk.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            They’ve done that to a certain extent with the MKZ. It starts at $35K before discounts. The issue is that a $35K Fusion will shame it when it comes to content. Lincoln should have certain things standard on the MKZ. If Lincoln offered an MKZ AWD V6 w/Nav for near $36K, I’d buy one new. The configuration I want is $10K more. I could probably buy one for around $40K based on incentives or other things, but then I’m getting into MKS price territory.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’m looking at it now, V6 is 34,385 in my area.

            Moonroof 1,200
            Panoramic Roof: 2,995 (yikes)
            Navi Package: 4420 (wtf)
            Power fold mirror pkg: 1,935
            Exterior tech pkg: 2,495

            So this is horseshit:

            Heated front seats require a 1,935 pkg (Select 101A – the mirror package)

            Heated and cooled front seats require a 4,420 pkg (reserve 102A – the navi package)

            Summary

            Zephyr V6 FWD
            Moonroof
            Heated and Cooled Leather seats which requires Navi pkg is: 40,005 with dest + tax. If I go back and select just heated seats and get the cheaper pkg, it drops to 37,520. Tax is going to make it near 43 and 40 for both.

            The Pontiac I have now (V6, roof, leather, heated seats) was 11,450 with the auction fee. Granted Lincoln is somewhat higher than Pontiac was but not 40K high. I like that Lincoln allows for a wide configuration of options but dinging people on something that was standard on MKZ is ridiculous. Let’s get with the program Mr. Fields, don’t ding people with tech garbage they don’t want if they just want their butts to be warm in the winter.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            You wouldn’t spend $50K on a Lincoln from Mexico, but you’d jump at the chance to blow $60K on an SUV from Alabama?

            Maybe you really don’t want a Lincoln.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’m not sure to whom you are referring but I personally don’t even care for SUVs (the real kind let alone the fake kind).

      • 0 avatar
        PeriSoft

        “Nope. Cut the price and they lose any appearance of being a premium brand anymore.”

        Saab got caught in this trap in their later years. Auto journos shoveled dirt into their grave after GM dug it for them; what ended up happening was that Saab made a car that listed at $45k and then put $10k on the hood. It was super competitive with $35k cars, but people shopping for $35k cars didn’t bother looking because the sticker was so high.

        Then the journalists drove them and compared them to $50k cars instead of $35k cars, and said, “This car sucks!”. Then they said, “Oh, and there’s $10k on the hood. They must REALLY suck!”

        So Saab made cars that would have been brilliant if they were MSRP’d for what they actually sold for, but nobody thought about them that way and they got excoriated from above and ignored from below.

        Then they went out of business.

        Good job, GM!

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          To be fair, they would have only lost more money if they’d sold more cars at the prices where they actually sold.

        • 0 avatar

          SAAB died as a result of the 2008 crash. Leases stopped being issued by the banks. A local dealer said they sold 25 cars a month. Rather, they leased 24 and sold one, which befits the reputation as an aspirational buy but below the german three.

          No leases, no SAABs, bye bye.

          A shame too. Saab was well designed, good mileage, good performance. OK, they got cranky at 90k miles, but….

        • 0 avatar

          Wait ! You have just described the Caddy pricing model.

  • avatar
    Fred

    I’m old enough to remember when “Made in Japan” was a bad rap. Now I’m glad my Acura was made in Japan. So may I suggest a bit of tolerance to the new world economic power.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      I spend a non-trivial portion of my day working to alleviate the costs and issues resulting from Chinese vendors screwing us over, usually on purpose. So no, no tolerance here.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I have a friend whose job it is to correct the sh*tty Java code they get back from their India based subcontractors.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          I’m in the mortgage business and we tried having folks in India do underwriting for us. Epic fail. I always looked forward to the email asking me to “do the needful” (i.e., please fix) once they encountered anything even remotely out of the box.

          • 0 avatar
            MrGreenMan

            “Do the needful”

            It’s like a bad trip down memory lane wherein I got mugged! Every email ended with that, like direction for me to complete the assembly of my own T Ferguson 8000 Master Blaster.

            Please to be doing the needful — especially when it’s gone through the outsource manager a couple times and I’m being asked to do the thing I originally requested, with the justification that somebody is really waiting for this and they are going to include in their metrics that I am holding this up.

            Did you also have meets but never meetings?

          • 0 avatar
            Undefinition

            “do the needful”

            Love that line. Never even heard of it until I had to work with people in India.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Imagine the “Do the hustle” song and say: Do the needful.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I had no idea that phrase was so common – I thought it was just the folks we worked with! And I wish my email server didn’t eat everything after a certain date – I’d post some of their greatest “do the needful” hits.

            Like this one…we had a customer who was a “director” of something or other at Exxon. Here in America, we understand that to be a middle manager. But our friends in the sub-continent took that to mean that he was chairman of the board of directors…at Exxon…making $120,000 a year. And so they figured he owned the company (again, this is Exxon we’re talking about), and asked for the company’s tax returns. I mean, doesn’t everyone who owns Exxon make $120,000 a year? I had to “do the needful” and second review him. This guy had not only never heard of Exxon, he took my review as being bigoted towards Indians. I reminded him that in this country, mortgage applications are so highly regulated that someone’s actually stupid enough to let his bigot flag fly, he ends up fired pretty much immediately – it can cost mortgage companies big money if someone’s going all race warrior on borrowers. It ended up on the desk of some senior vice president who sided with me and told the guy to sit down and drink a big steamin’ mug of STFU.

            Wowsers, that was fun.

            So we eventually had enough of these guys, and took them out of frontline work, so they could audit our files (which counts as part of our performance metrics). And now we’re getting “findings” for stuff like a guy’s name on the application was George C. Jones and his paystubs have no middle initial. Does it matter that the guy’s social security number and address on the check are an exact match? Nope. It was “do the needful’ time. It takes days of back and forth arguments with folks who can barely complete a sentence in english to overturn these stupid things.

            This, of course, is Montezuma’s Revenge, Mumbai style…

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            “This, of course, is Montezuma’s Revenge, Mumbai style.”

            Yeah, thanks for sort of teaching them English, Blighty.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You have me in stitches, do the needful.

          • 0 avatar
            OldWingGuy

            Do the needful…

            I will try that line on my girlfriend. (Always wanted to take a trip to Emergency).

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        China isn’t ready for automotive exports to developed nations yet.

        All these comparisons to Japan & Korea are so far off the mark that it’s laughable.

        And when China IS ready to succeed in exporting autos to developed nations, it won’t be by way of 50 thousand MSRP Volvos stripped of one of their primary selling points (Swedish obsession with safety and Swedish styling/aesthetics and heritage), but with circa-1990s style Hyundai cut-rate pricing (ala the cheapest new vehicle sold in Canada in 2018 at $9,999.99 CAD out the door with a long warranty and actual dealerships with actual staffed service bays).

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @Deadweight,
          The Volvo’s coming from China will be from a ” transplant” operation, not bargain basement Chinese interpretations of what is a reasonable Automobile

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            There’s little chance Volvos fabricated under Chinese ownership will have sales traction in the U.S. at anywhere near Volvo’s historic price point, wherever they’re assembled.

            There’s just too much negative baggage associated with anything Chinese in the automotive segment, near such a premium price point, to support such a business case.

            Like I said previously, a Chinese manufacturer would fare much better emulating Hyundai in the 90s, and pitch the least expensive new vehicle with a long warranty, prove that it possesses at least a respectable level of quality, reliability, durability and refinement (for its class), and grow models and pricing from there.

            Doing so would require a broad & competitive dealer network, with warranty service & parts distribution stateside, though, which will be fantastically expensive to build out from the ground up.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I’m going to be the heretic here and say this WILL make a difference. Why? Because Volvo is a premium brand, and even if this makes the car a bit cheaper, buyers are more discriminating at this price point. I think Volvo’s better off focusing on making products here, like Lexus, Mercedes and BMW do.

    I think it’s the folks who are buying a cheaper car who will more readily accept Chinese made goods.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      PeriSoft and others get to the heart of the problem: China has a business culture of corner cutting, coverups and outsourcing run amok where there is little control over those subcomponents and suppliers.

      This will not be a big sales hurdle for Volvo to overcome – the S60 extended wheelbase will comprise a few dozen units per month and won’t make any ripples in the overall auto sales figures.

      This is a move to improve margins – not to try and undercut the competition. If Volvo wants to/tries to lower the price of the S60 to make it more competitive they run the risk of ruining the brand they claim can compete with BMW, Audi and Mercedes. If they decide they can chop $10k off the price of an S60 they’ll then be in the unenviable position of having to explain to customers why a supposed Audi/Merc/BMW competitor is so much cheaper. If it’s too good to be true….

      For safety, reliability and market reasons you’re not going to see a serious price reduction in Chinese built cars of any type. Built to US spec the savings anymore aren’t nearly as great as they used to be. The big benefit has always been for foreign manufacturers to setup shop in China and charge 40-60% more to the domestic market than they do in other countries.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        I don’t agree with this 100%. While it may be a strategy to boost profits, I have to believe that the once-surging Chinese economy with it’s upward pressure on wages and benefits as compared to recent years, may nullify any large gains on the margins. I’m not saying it won’t happen, but I don’t think the benefit will be as a big as projected. Combine that with the neo-jingoism (that is happening in this forum) that is sure to happen once folks find out the cars are Chinese-assembled and it looks less and less likely.

        This is a serious question here: I would like to hear from the Canadians who own Chinese-assembled Honda Fits. What I would like to know if they’re having significant issues with their cars. I’ve always been told that Chinese assembly is fine as long as the QC is handled properly.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    In my short lifetime, we’ve had Japanese cars considered “junk” while Detroit cranked out Pintos, Vegas and Gremlins. Then Korean cars were considered “junk” while Detroit cranked out Escorts, Chevettes and Neons.

    Your arguments against this are old, and have been proven wrong at least twice, maybe even three times if we include Mexico.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      The quality of Chinese made cars is sketchy, at best, right now. I have no doubt that will improve.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        “The quality of Chinese made cars is sketchy, at best, right now. I have no doubt that will improve.”

        I have significant doubts. They have to WANT to improve, and they have to have a culture where you can make investments in things like R&D and not have it ripped off by the next guy down the street rendering your investment worthless. Right now the culture in China is that it is perfectly fine to cheat and steal to get ahead because it’s your fault if you are dumb enough to be cheated/stolen from. As long as that remains the culture, things will not improve substantially.

        • 0 avatar
          WheelMcCoy

          “Right now the culture in China is that it is perfectly fine to cheat and steal to get ahead because it’s your fault if you are dumb enough to be cheated/stolen from. As long as that remains the culture, things will not improve substantially.”

          Hmm, that rings a bell. Why does this sound so familiar? Ah, that’s it… Wall Street! And free market policies!!

  • avatar
    Chan

    The location of assembly is not a major factor in a car’s build quality. It’s the management and the quality controls that they set in place.

    The main concern with China is supplier and production QC, since the car wasn’t actually designed there.

    Take a random unit and crash test it. Then do it again for the next Chinese-built model. And again.

    And the myth will be crushed. As it was for Japan and now Korea. Now, to get a Chinese company to design a decent and original-looking car…

    • 0 avatar
      Funky

      This is a good idea. Maybe randomly crash test one vehicle (which was delivered to a USA dealership) once every few months for at least the first several years of selling the Chinese made Volvo S60s in the USA. And, maybe perform random crash tests with less frequency after the first several years. This would help us Volvo customers to verify we can trust the claimed crash worthiness of the Chinese manufactured vehicles.

  • avatar
    bufguy

    So many people commenting that Chinese cars are such poor quality….How would they know? Not many Chinese built cars sold here….Forty years ago no one would buy Japanese cars, now a Japanese made Lexus or Acura is coveted. Twenty years ago no one would buy a Korean car, Now they buy Hyundai Genesis.
    Most people have no idea where their car is actually made. Do they know that a significant amount of BMW 3 series sold in the US are made in South Africa?….I bet not…This may be what Volvo needs.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    There is nothing magical about Chinese assembly. Either it will be carefully managed and will work fine, or it will be sloppily managed and turn out a lot of defective products. We’ve seen plenty of examples of both in China, as well as in America (was a 1981 Cadillac Fleetwood a shining example of assembly quality?). Actually, I’d expect this first batch of Volvos to be impeccably assembled, because Volvo will have something to prove.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    “Do the needful

    It’s like a bad trip down memory lane wherein I got mugged! Every email ended with that, like direction for me to complete the assembly of my own T Ferguson 8000 Master Blaster.

    Please to be doing the needful — especially when it’s gone through the outsource manager a couple times and I’m being asked to do the thing I originally requested, with the justification that somebody is really waiting for this and they are going to include in their metrics that I am holding this up.”

    Were you working for the Indian company? Because you should have told him you will include in your metrics that he didn’t know what he was doing and wasn’t up to the job. My brother works in the aviation industry and has to deal with Indian engineers all the time.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      My experience is almost the other direction; often our outsourced Indian resources are so focused on meeting their metrics and deadlines that they become extremely harrassing to get everything complete. Providing some random bulletpoint explanation on some dude’s scorecard is a tiny part of my job, but holy crap do I get stalked by the outsourced guy if I’m even a minute late. Guess what buddy, I’ve got more important things to do than jump up and provide you whatever you need for your meaningless .ppt your boss isn’t going to read.

      Other thing that’s fun is the title inflation there. Guy who works for me (my title is “manager”) is like the Director of blah blah blah. Yeah, sure you are. If he was located here he’d be “specialist” or “analyst” or “assistant”.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Is it possible that Geely is run differently from the vendors you deal with? Or are a billion and a half Chinese all identically addled by a culture of theft and dishonesty?

        • 0 avatar
          RideHeight

          “Or are a billion and a half Chinese all identically addled by a culture of theft and dishonesty?”

          Yes, because there are a billion and a half of them. “Quantity has a quality all its own”.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          Think you responded to the wrong post of mine but whatever. Sure, it’s possible, but I’ve already provided a laundry list of different industries afflicted. Plus I’ve worked with them in several others (contract manufacturing, metal fabrication, chips, etc). In every single case in my experience the quality slipped immediately due to substitution for cheaper materials, cutting corners, etc, and stayed slippled until we took them to task and installed on-location engineers, etc, to oversee them. You can get all huffy about it, but there are numerous case studies about the inherent nature of this in the Chinese culture.

          • 0 avatar
            HotPotato

            Alas, this is a thing. My friend’s company has product manufactured in China and it’s like clockwork: 1) make a deal with a Chinese subcontractor based on the quality of their samples; 2) receive one good quality shipment, 3) every shipment thereafter plummets in quality, 4) repeat step 1 with a new company.

            Here in California we thought we’d save big money by having the Chinese build the parts for a very large, very costly bridge replacement for the Bay area. Savings began to evaporate when quality was so bad that CalTrans had to hire American inspectors to work full time at the Chinese plant, and apparently even so, enough problems slipped through that repair work is now being done on the brand-new state-of-the-art bridge.

            But let’s assume Volvo establishes outstanding processes and oversight to prevent that sort of thing — with the company’s future riding on it, I would assume they will.

            As I understand it, this will be the S60L they’re building, which unlike the standard S60 doesn’t have the appearance and interior room of a Honda Civic, so the car may do fine on its merits.

            But if Chinese manufacture enables lower pricing, and Volvo’s problem is it’s priced too high, then why doesn’t Volvo bring us the Chinese-made current-model XC90 and sell it as the “Classic” at a massive discount over the new XC90? They need to get new customers somehow, and offering Volvo attributes for Chevy Equinox prices would be a hell of a way to do it.

  • avatar
    don1967

    It is naive to assume that Geely is about to destroy Volvo’s image by slapping the name on inferior cars. They paid good money for the brand, and have injected new capital into it without interfering with its corporate culture.

    It is also naive to assume that “Made in China” means poor quality, when everything from Adidas to iPads are already built there.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      “everything from Adidas to iPads are already built there.”

      As stated above, stuff that could kill you and yours if/when the suppliers cut corners is different.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Well, that’s the thing, if that starts happening in the U.S., they aren’t going to be in business here very long. The auto business is too regulated to just let that crap go (as evidenced by what’s going on with GM, which might just get charged criminally for the ignition thing).

        • 0 avatar
          hreardon

          Nope, all it’s going to take is for one legislator in Congress to demand an ‘investigation’ into the safety of Chinese autos and the media frenzy will commence.

          It’s happened before with cars (Audi), produce (Clementines from Spain), etc.

  • avatar
    EAF

    If 8 year olds are accountable for the construct of my S60, then I want to buy it at a REMARKABLE discount. $40k MSRP? Lol Having a tough time imagining anyone buying this.

  • avatar
    niky

    Dealing with a Chinese subcontractor to do manufacturing for you is often fraught with problems… yes, quality deteriorates once they think you’re not going to go shopping for another subcontractor, which means you’ve got to visit and do QA fairly regularly.

    But Chinese manufacturing, done in facilities built from the ground up by companies with a fair interest in quality control, rather than simply shopping around for factories, is fairly good.

    We’ve got Chinese-built computers, cameras and smartphones that are of the same quality as the Koreans not so long ago… and some that rival the current Korean and Japanese standards. So why not cars?

    I’ve been reviewing Chinese-made vehicles for over a decade. The first few I drove were so sketchy I honestly feared for my life (nothing quite so much fun as finding your brakes have gone AWOL while driving downhill). Nowadays, they’re simply cars that you can thrash around like any other. And then some. There are still sketchy Chinese-made, Chinese-branded cars… but there are also those that are almost as good as the Japanese. Maybe within the next decade, they’ll reach parity.

    As for Chinese-made, foreign-branded cars… they’re already there. If you’ve invested properly in your facilities and workforce, there’s no difference between a properly trained Chinese line worker and a properly trained Thai/Korean/American line worker. Except perhaps one is paid a little less than the others.

    China is a big, big, BIG place. Chinese companies are all over the map in terms of size, output and quality. It’s still wild days, there, as the market has yet to grow discerning enough to pick winners and force the losers out of business. But even though there are a lot of losers on the Chinese market, it’s a mistake to think that they’re all the same. The stretch between the best of China and the worst of China will surprise you if you haven’t had the opportunity to sample them all.

  • avatar
    FAHRVERGNUGEN

    “Two months”? That’s some slow boat from China…

  • avatar
    Gedrven

    Until Chinese labor and environmental standards reach those of the developed world, buying anything made there – especially something as energy- and labor-intensive as a car – is unethical.

    Showroom brochures sometimes show a clean, shiny factory where the car was made. I somehow doubt that Volvo brochures will feature a realistic shot of the air above Beijing.

  • avatar
    Jasper2

    Chinese made Volvos probably will be safer than anything manufactured by General Motors (ignition switch issues) or Toyota (exploding air bags) in recent years.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    If Mercedes buyers didn’t complain about their “Alabama trashcan” ML’s, Volvo buyers won’t know the difference if their S60L came from Asia. I do wonder about one thing…where will the leather be sourced? There is something about leather that is tanned in Asia that I find objectionable…when the car ages, especially if it sits out in the sun a lot, it can get a smell that makes me think of cat urine. Not pronounced, just a background odor. Just like an old German car smells like the plastics they used, and the horsehair seat pads, Japanese and Korean cars with leather seats take on that odor. Historically, I am under the impression that Volvo bought hides from Bridge of Weir or Elmo, don’t know who they use now and will use in this production facility.

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