Photo courtesy of Volvo.

Photo courtesy of Volvo.

Volvo has begun building its XC40 compact SUV at its plant in Ghent, Belgium, the company has announced.

The XC40 marks Volvo's entry in to the compact SUV category, and the company has reportedly received 13,000 orders for it. Volvo will begin delivering the XC40 to U.S. customers in early 2018.

Various dignitaries greeted the first XC40 off the production line, including Charles Michel, Belgium's prime minister; Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo Cars chief executive and president; and Javier Varela, senior vice president of manufacturing and logistics.

Volvo is building the XC40 on its Compact Modular Architecture (CMS) that will be the basis for a line of smaller cars and SUVs.

Volvo upgraded its Ghent plant for the work, including adding an 8,000-square-meter body shop and 363 new robots, including one that's been nicknamed "the Beast" by employees.

The Ghent plant also builds the V40 and V40 Cross Country small hatchbacks, the S60, and the V60. Volvo is building a plant in South Carolina that's slated to open in the second half of 2018.