Volvo announced that it will be building its first factory in the U.S. near Charleston, South Carolina.
The Swedish automaker is spending $500 million on developing a plant in Berkeley County, expected to have a capacity to produce 100,000 vehicles per year.
Construction will begin this fall, with the first cars produced in 2018.
The factory will produce Volvo vehicles for sale in the US and for export.
“We’re excited to build our first American factory in South Carolina and we look forward to helping grow the local community and economy.” said Lex Kerssemakers, president and CEO of Volvo Cars of North America, “We were impressed with the friendliness, work ethic and passion of the people in the Charleston area.”
The reason why Volvo chose the Charleston area is because of easy access to international ports and the area’s well trained labor force.
Nikki Haley, Governor of South Carolina, welcomed the news:
“This is a landmark moment and truly a great day in South Carolina as we welcome Volvo Cars’ first American manufacturing plant to our state.
”Volvo’s presence and commitment to the community will be felt for decades to come. We are proud to have this global leader in car manufacturing join and strengthen South Carolina’s automotive industry.”
According to Volvo, the new US factory “forms part of an ambitious medium-term expansion plan to double global sales, boost market share and lift profitability.”
Volvo is owned by Geely Automobile of China.
Geely acquired Volvo from Ford in 2010 for $1.8 billion.
Karl Brauer, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com, said that the decision to open a factory is especially significant, as it is the first time that a Chinese car company “has made a substantial investment in U.S. manufacturing infrastructure.”
“It illustrates how critical the North American region continues to be, even with China’s ascension to the largest new-car market on the planet.”