By on September 19, 2017

Volvo Cars Torslanda assembly plant - Image: VolvoVolvo continues to look forward to real U.S. sales recovery, meeting the goal of record U.S. sales volume by 2020, and a fourth consecutive year of record global sales. To get there, Volvo is already altering plans at the Charleston, South Carolina, assembly plant where construction is already in full swing.

Altering? According to Reuters and Charleston’s Post and Courier, it’s more like deciding that the plant should be twice as large, build twice as many vehicles, house more than twice as many employees, and cost twice as much.

Volvo was already going in the process of investing $500 million to build a South Carolina plant that will likely be responsible for assembling the next-generation Volvo S60. (The second-gen S60 is entering its eighth model year.) It’s been more than two years since Volvo announced South Carolina as the designated spot for the Chinese-owned Swedish automaker’s first North American facility since Volvo left Nova Scotia in 1998.Volvo Cars US Factory Groundbreaking - Image: VolvoBut with the first S60 in line to kickstart actual production in the summer of 2018, Volvo is reportedly going to add a production line — at a cost of another $500 million, bolstered by $3.5 million in government incentives — in order to increase the workforce from 2,000 to 4,500. Theoretically, the design of Volvo’s new architecture means any of the brand’s models could be built on the new line. Volvo expects 60 percent of its South Carolina production to be exported, The Post and Courier reports.

South Carolina is also home to production of four BMW utility vehicles. Through the first eight months of 2017, according to Automotive News, BMW’s Spartanburg, South Carolina, production accounts for 3 percent of total U.S. auto production. Mercedes-Benz also re-builds Metris and Sprinter vans in Ladson, South Carolina, at a rate of roughly 3,700 units per month.

Volvo has not yet confirmed its intentions for a double-sized South Carolina investment, nor the second vehicle intended to consume factory space.

[Images: Volvo]

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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13 Comments on “Volvo Doubles South Carolina Investment, Pours In Another $500 Million, Plans Two Production Lines...”

  • avatar

    Nikki Haley is getting a lot more experience digging holes these days.

    Isn’t Volvo’s heavy truck business in NC? I know they’re separate companies, but I wonder if there are any economies gained with semi-co-location like that.

    • 0 avatar

      There’s a Volvo Truck plant in Dublin, VA right off of I-81. There’s a Mack truck plant in Hagerstown, MD right off I-81 (Volvo owns Mack).

      I’m pretty sure Volvo automobiles (wholly owned by China) is so fundamentally different from Volvo trucks that they would want less than nothing to do with one another.

      • 0 avatar

        Actually, the Hagerstown plant is Powertrain – they produce the engines and transmissions for both Mack and Volvo brands in the US. Mack vehicle assembly is still in Allentown, PA (it’s really in Macungie but close enough not to matter) where it’s been the past 100 years or so.

    • 0 avatar

      More accurately, Nikki Haley is digging out of holes left by the previous regime

  • avatar

    The construction of this new plant demonstrates that China continues to invest heavily in the USA. It seems like the “bizarro world” version of what GM and Ford are doing by investing in mainland China manufacturing facilities which are being used by them to build and import more “made in China” vehicles to the USA. Maybe the American middle class will get lucky and for every job lost (or not gained) by GM and Ford importing from China, another just-as-good replacement job will come from Chinese investments like this one.

    • 0 avatar

      What GM, Ford et al don’t seem to recognize is that China is letting them transfer their tech to China which China has gladly taken and is in the process of turning around and using it against them.

      China clearly wants it own auto industry. By focusing on China the westerners have been building it for them and neglecting their home markets which China will now invade with their newly competitive products.

      Ford’s formerly moribund Volvo is being transformed into a real threat to the profitable segment of the passenger car market in the US, something Ford and GM seem unable to do w/ Cadillac and Lincoln.

      Especially Cadillac. What a fiasco that exAudi guy has been. The only real success Cadillac has is the vehicle he has had nothing to do w/, the Chevrolet Escalade.

  • avatar

    Parts made in China, final symbolic assembly of said parts performed in the US. Yay!

  • avatar

    Could someone explain why Volvo would choose to expand in South Carolina when there are equal subsidies and a more experienced workforce available in Ontario or Michigan?

    • 0 avatar

      I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or not, but….unions, or lack of them.

    • 0 avatar

      More experienced??? There’s already an established high end auto industry in SC with companies and suppliers who don’t need bailouts and Hail Mary loans to keep the doors open. We also make those dinky Boeing 787’s Dreamliners as well. Ports for export? We got them along with inland ports connected to the coastal ports by rail. The decades of work by our elected officials and business leaders is bearing fruit.

      Welcome to the New South, along with Texas and Arizona. I hear they are on their game in California as well.

      • 0 avatar

        California, w/ all its natural advantages, is being transformed into a poor state – it now has the highest poverty rate in the nation – but w/ a bubble housing market.

  • avatar

    I’m conflicted on this one. I spent over a decade living just outside of Charleston (Summerville) and still consider that my “home” and where my wife and I intend on retiring, should that day ever come. While part of me loves the fact that more Charlestonians are getting the opportunity to find work, the Chinese connection irks me as we continue to stare down $300 billion+ deficits with them year over year over year. Maybe I should be happy that some of that money is being reinvested in the US and leave it at that…

    • 0 avatar

      By definition, the Chinese have been investing in the US as long as we’ve had trade deficits with them. The difference here, is that instead of buying Treasuries or Mortgage Backed Securities, they are investing in land and manufacturing.

      If there were no cross-border investing going on, and freely moving exchange rates, it would be mathematically impossible to have a trade deficit.

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