Volvo Cars has started production of its bestselling XC60 crossover at its plant in Chengdu, expanding its production in China on the back of strong sales growth.
The Volvo XC60 is the second model to be produced in Chengdu after the plant started production of the Volvo S60L long wheel base sedan in November 2013.
Adding the Volvo XC60 to the Chengdu production line also means that the plant will add 500 new manufacturing jobs, bringing the total headcount in the plant to around 2,650 employees. A new working time system will secure the required increase in output. All Volvo XC60’s produced at the Chengdu plant will be for the Chinese market. The XC60 is Volvo’s best-selling model worldwide, including China.
Globally, the Volvo XC60’s sales have increased by 20.4 per cent to 98,309 cars in the first nine months of 2014, while sales in China are up by 32.3 per cent to 24,940 cars over the same period. Earlier this year, the Volvo XC60 passed the 500,000 cars-sold mark since it was launched in 2008.
“The start of Volvo’s XC60 production in Chengdu is the latest milestone in Volvo Cars’ transformation,” said Håkan Samuelsson, President and CEO of Volvo Cars. “It will be instrumental in boosting Volvo’s overall growth in what is now our largest market.”
The Chengdu plant is located in the Chengdu Economic and Technological Development Zone in central China. Annual production capacity of the plant is 120,000 cars.
Volvo Cars also has a plant in Daqing, northeast China, where assembly has started of the Volvo XC Classic – a locally-built variant of the first-generation Volvo XC90 for the Chinese market.
Furthermore, Volvo Cars operates an engine plant in Zhangjiakou, northwest of Beijing, which has been operational since 2013 and supplies engines to Chengdu and Daqing.
All of the company’s operations in China have been developed according to the Volvo Cars’ global standards and processes used in the Torslanda and Ghent plants in Europe.
“The Chengdu plant is absolutely on a par with our European plants,” said Lars Danielson, Senior Vice President Volvo Cars China Operations and CEO of Volvo Car China. “Whether it is in terms of quality, installed technology and equipment, working environment and safety or environmental performance, our plant in Chengdu matches Volvo Cars’ global standards and requirements.”
Overall Volvo Cars sales development in China has been strong this year, with retail sales increasing by 36 per cent compared to 2013. Volvo Cars is growing considerably faster than the premium segment in China, taking market share from its key competitors.
Apart from the Volvo XC60 and S60L, other strong sellers in China are the segment-leading Volvo V60 and the Volvo V40 range.
“Customers globally have high expectations of luxury cars and our Chinese customers are no different”, says Mr. Danielson, “Customers also have plenty of choice in the highly competitive Chinese market. That is why we make sure to deliver high-quality cars out of Chengdu that are as good as the cars we build in our European plants.”