What does your next Volvo have in common with your iPhone?
THE FIRST MADE-IN-CHINA Volvos for Singapore are on the way. The Swedish carmaker is moving production of its flagship sedan model, the S90, to a factory in Daqing, one of three manufacturing plants it operates in China.
A spokesperson from Wearnes Automotive, the local distributor for Volvo cars, said that all Volvo S90s sold in Singapore are currently made in Sweden, and that China-built ones will be “made available at a later stage” here.
The Swedish carmaker is building new factories to meet growing demand. This year it is opening a plant in India to supply the market there, and in 2018 a new factory in the USA will build up to 100,000 cars.
Volvo’s new plant in Daqing in northern China is just one of several planned new factories
The USA was the first-recipient of China-made Volvos when the company began exporting the S60 (a smaller sedan than the S90) there in 2015. The new US plant will be the global production home of the next S60.
That makes it likely that US-made Volvos will eventually be sold alongside the China-sourced S90s in Singapore.
Volvo continues to build cars in Sweden (the XC90 and new XC60, both crossover cars) and Belgium (the rest of the range).
Nevertheless, its ties with China look set to deepen. The new China-Europe railway link now makes overland transport of cars between the two territories feasible. Compared to shipping, it cuts the transit time from factory to Volvo’s distribution point in Belgium from 60 days to just 20 (and very likely, bypasses Singapore in the process).
Volvo has also been developing its next range of compact cars together with its corporate parent, Zhejiang Geely, and will export its first electric vehicle from China when it goes on sale next year.
Geely has owned Volvo since 2010.
The Swedish carmaker sold a record 534,332 cars worldwide in 2016, and has an ambitious target to reach 800,000 annual sales by 2020.
China, now the world’s largest car market, will likely fuel much of the demand for all those Volvos. But it is also looking like an ever-growing source of supply, as well.
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