It's Official: South Carolina Will Build the Next-Gen Volvo S60 and the Volvo XC90

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
it s official south carolina will build the next gen volvo s60 em and em the

Reports last week that Geely-owned Volvo would double its investment in Berkeley County, South Carolina, were confirmed today by the Swedish automaker. Volvo’s investment rises to $1.1 billion, the employee count is expected to climb to 4,000, and the Charleston plant will build not one but two Volvo models.

Volvo announced its intention to build its South Carolina plant in May 2015. The first vehicles, set to be third-generation Volvo S60s, will begin rolling off the assembly line in the fall of 2018, just one year from now. By 2021, Volvo revealed today, the company will also be assembling its flagship SUV, the XC90, in South Carolina.

Surprised? Of course not.

The United States is Volvo’s highest-volume market for the XC90, a model that accounted for four-in-ten Volvo USA sales in 2016 and 36 percent so far this year. But supply hasn’t always been to Volvo USA’s liking. Even with Volvo planning to send “a considerable amount of XC90 volume” out of the United States, building the vehicle that Americans want in America will be a huge boost for dealers who want to get their hands on the right XC90 models.

South Carolina becomes Volvo’s fifth global assembly plant — a third Chinese plant is also under construction. With this new investment, Volvo will have the capacity to assemble 150,000 vehicles per year in America. U.S. capacity will be vital for Volvo to achieve its goals. Outgoing Volvo Car USA president and CEO Lex Kerssemakers believes Volvo should break its U.S. sales record (139,384 units, set in 2004) by selling 150,000 vehicles annually by 2020.

Of course, part of the recipe for achieving that goal will involve the new Volvo XC40, a model that won’t be built in North America. Volvo will also benefit from steadily rising sales of its second-generation XC60. The new model arrived this summer and helped the XC60 report 2,521 August sales, a 58-percent increase compared with the monthly average Volvo has reported over the last year.

[Images: Volvo Cars]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.

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2 of 13 comments
  • Whitworth Whitworth on Sep 25, 2017

    I'm sure these states and their workers are really regretting all the times they gave the UAW the middle finger.

  • Threeer Threeer on Sep 26, 2017

    So maybe some of that $300 Billion (plus) trade deficit we "enjoy" with China year over year is coming back in dribbles? I'm a tad conflicted over this one. I consider the Charleston area home (although I currently live in Alabama) and generally am happy to see folks there with employment opportunities. Just wish it wasn't under a Chinese star. Now if American companies could only invest that easily in that is going to happen.

  • Tassos Chinese owned Vollvo-Geely must have the best PR department of all automakers. A TINY maker with only 0.5-0.8% market share in the US, it is in the news every day.I have lost count how many different models Volvo has, and it is shocking how FEW of each miserable one it sells in the US market.Approximately, it sells as many units (TOTAL) as is the total number of loser models it offers.
  • ToolGuy Seems pretty reasonable to me. (Sorry)
  • Luke42 When I moved from Virginia to Illinois, the lack of vehicle safety inspections was a big deal to me. I thought it would be a big change.However, nobody drives around in an unsafe car when they have the money to get their car fixed and driving safely.Also, Virginia's inspection regimine only meant that a car was safe to drive one day a year.Having lived with and without automotive safety inspections, my confusion is that they don't really matter that much.What does matter is preventing poverty in your state, and Illinois' generally pro-union political climate does more for automotive safety (by ensuring fair wages for tradespeople) than ticketing poor people for not having enough money to maintain their cars.
  • ToolGuy When you are pulled over for speeding, whether you are given a ticket or not should depend on how attractive you are.Source: My sister 😉
  • Kcflyer What Toyota needs is a true full size body on frame suv to compete with the Expedition and Suburban and their badge engineered brethren. The new sequoia and LX are too compromised in capacity by their off road capabilities that most buyers will never use.