Volvo Doubles South Carolina Investment, Pours In Another $500 Million, Plans Two Production Lines

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
volvo doubles south carolina investment pours in another 500 million plans two

Volvo 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.

But 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 Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.

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  • Volvo Volvo on Sep 19, 2017

    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?

    • See 2 previous
    • Thornmark Thornmark on Sep 20, 2017

      @haroldingpatrick 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.

  • Threeer Threeer on Sep 20, 2017

    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...

    • Garrett Garrett on Sep 20, 2017

      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.

  • SilverCoupe I am one of those people whose Venn diagram of interests would include Audis and Formula One.I am not so much into Forums, though. I spend enough time just watching the races.
  • Jeff S Definitely and very soon. Build a hybrid pickup and price it in the Maverick price range. Toyota if they can do this soon could grab the No 1 spot from Maverick.
  • MaintenanceCosts Would be a neat car if restored, and a lot of good parts are there. But also a lot of very challenging obstacles, even just from what we can see from the pictures. It's going to be hard to justify a restoration financially.
  • Jeff S Ford was in a slump during this era and its savior was a few years away from being introduced. The 1986 Taurus and Sable saved Ford from bankruptcy and Ford bet the farm on them. Ford was also helped by the 1985 downsize front wheel drive full sized GM cars. Lincoln even spoofed these new full size GM cars in an ad basically showing it was hard to tell the difference between a Cadillac, Buick, and Oldsmobile. This not only helped Lincoln sales but Mercury Grand Marquis and Ford Crown Victoria sales. For GM full size buyers that liked the downsized GM full size 77 to 84 they had the Panther based Lincoln Town Cars, Mercury Grand Marquis, and Ford Crown Victorias that were an alternative to the new GM front wheel drive full size cars that had many issues when they were introduced in 1985 and many of those issues were not resolved for several years. The Marks were losing popularity after the Mark Vs.
  • SCE to AUX Toyota the follower, as usual. It will be 5 years before such a vehicle is available.I can't think of anything innovative from them since the Gen 1 Prius. Even their mythical solid state battery remains vaporware.They look like pre-2009 General Motors. They could fall hard.
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