By on September 25, 2017

2017 Volvo XC90 T8 R Design - Image: VolvoReports 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.

Volvo South Carolina Plant Expansion - Image: VolvoThe 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 Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.

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13 Comments on “It’s Official: South Carolina Will Build the Next-Gen Volvo S60 and the Volvo XC90...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “…supply hasn’t always been to Volvo USA’s liking”

    That seems like a specious claim, since XC90 volume is down 20% this year vs 2016. Are we to believe Volvo *reduced* production of this car, and therefore is selling fewer of them?

  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    Can I be the one to tell all the SoCal, Boston and DC Volvo drivers that their cars are made by deplorables in South Carolina? Please, please, please can I?

    • 0 avatar
      Asdf

      “Volvo USA – final assembly from Chinese parts by deplorables in South Carolina”

      Much better than the extremely misleading “Made by Sweden”.

    • 0 avatar
      don1967

      Gör amerika bra igen!

    • 0 avatar
      Hydromatic

      I highly doubt they’d give a damn, just as they wouldn’t give a damn that their stylish Swedish meatballs are now made under Chinese ownership.

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      Coastal elites didn’t care when their clothes were made by slave cotton, their jewelry from warlords, nor their Volvos from red states. But they’ll surely give you an opinion on the Civil War, post-Colonial African corruption, or the Deplorables.

      It’s a very convenient worldview.

      • 0 avatar
        spookiness

        I think its a great idea if it keeps the poors, fatties, methheads and cousin bangers employed out of my sight! Not that any of them had any interest in domestic migration anyway.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          There are Country Club and Trailer Park sides of the tracks in nearly every area of the U.S. that I’ve visited, and I’ve visited quite a few states (39 at last count).

          South Carolina has some very haute areas filled with swell Blue Blood types, who like trap shooting, equestrian sports, and tea time.

          I could even say the same thing about such “backwater” places as Mississippi and Oklahoma.

          The curse of the hollowed out middle class and extreme opposite end socioeconomic pole end clustering taking place in the USA is not a recent phenomenon p, but has accelerated dramatically in the last 15 years (particularly last 10) — hence things like riots, BLM, tiki-torch marches, and Trump.

          We’re back in the 1920s in terms of household income dispersion regardless of region (though some regions are more extreme than others).

    • 0 avatar
      Ltd1983

      You should actually visit Charleston sometime.

      It might be in SC, but it’s full of latte-sipping, European car-driving coastal elites. I’d say the most “average” car in town would be an E-Class wagon with prep-school stickers and a surf rack.

      The Volvos could hardly be built in a more appropriate setting (okay, for being outside of Sweden…)

      • 0 avatar
        MrGrieves

        Speaking as a lifelong Southerner – the blue blood elites in my area drive loaded Denalis or X5’s (if you’re a woman.) If you’re a man, it’s a new F-150 with every options box checked and a lift kit. The other 99.99% (or, the “deplorables”) drive barely roadworthy Cavaliers, Explorers, or most commonly pickup trucks held together with bondo and bailing wire. Exhaust pipe? What’s that?

        I’m totally behind the push into Southern states by foreign auto companies. The income inequality in the South has always been horrendous, maybe this will finally have an impact (although I doubt it.) Some people claim substandard pay and working conditions in these plants… but I just can’t see it being worse than a lifetime of making fries or collecting food stamps. The people here are pretty grateful for the jobs.

  • avatar
    whitworth

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

  • avatar
    threeer

    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 China…like that is going to happen.

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