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.