Volvo Cars has taken the first steps in building its all-new car manufacturing facility in Berkeley County, S.C. The new plant will initially produce the next-generation Volvo S60 sedan, based on Volvo Cars’ new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA). The company said it is investing $500 million in the new facility, which, initially, will have a capacity of up to 100,000 cars per year.
The groundbreaking event in South Carolina today was attended by Lex Kerssemakers, senior vice president of the Americas at Volvo Cars and Nikki Haley, governor of South Carolina, along with other key public officials.
"Volvo Cars’ new South Carolina plant is a reflection of our firm commitment to the US market," Kerssemakers said during the groundbreaking ceremony. "The United States is a cornerstone in Volvo Cars’ global expansion plan."
The SPA-based Volvo S60 sedan is currently under development at Volvo Car Group headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden. American built S60s will be sold in the U.S. market as well as overseas through exports from the Port of Charleston, along with another model yet to be determined. The first South Carolina-built Volvos are expected to roll off the assembly line in late 2018, according to the automaker.
The decision to choose Berkeley County was taken as a result of its easy access to international ports and infrastructure, a well-trained labor force, an attractive investment environment and experience in the high tech manufacturing sector. Volvo Cars estimates that the factory will employ up to 2,000 people over the next decade and up to 4,000 people in the longer term.
The automaker also operates two car plants in Europe and two in China.