China Volvos to be sold abroad
Premium carmaker's Daqing plant says products match quality of Swedish models
Premium sedans manufactured at the Volvo Cars Daqing plant in northeastern China's Heilongjiang province, are expected to start selling abroad in May, a senior company executive says.
"We're arranging for dealers from the US, Europe and Asia-Pacific countries to visit our plant," said Yan Shiying, corporate communications manager at the plant.
She said the plant's product - Volvo's new S90 sedan - is selling well in the Chinese market.
The model is billed as an advanced premium vehicle with a semiautonomous driving program called Pilot Assist, which gives steering input to keep the car properly aligned within lane markings up to motorway speeds of around 130 km/h.
"Since mass production started for our S90 T5 and T4 models last November, a new vehicle drives off the production line every three minutes," Yan said.
She says that staffing levels grew from 600 to 2,000, with more than 30 foreign nationals - and to meet the strong market demand, the plant was working additional shifts starting this month.
Volvo says it sold 534,332 vehicles globally in 2016, with 99,030 units going to the Chinese market, the brand's biggest single market.
Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co bought the Swedish carmaker for $1.8 billion in 2010, making Volvo the first luxury car brand to be owned by a Chinese company.
Currently, Volvo has two mainland assembly plants - in Daqing and in southwestern China's Chengdu. A third is under construction in eastern China's Zhejiang province.
The plants in China follow the brand's global standards on procurement, manufacturing, technology and quality. As a result, Yan says, the Volvos manufactured in China are of the same quality as the Swedish-made ones.
The Daqing plant has an initial annual capacity of 80,000 vehicles.
"This year, we will export our cars to the US and Europe. The three-seat luxury S90 T8 will also start mass production," Yan says.
Volvo says its Daqing plant is a key part of its global manufacturing and management system and has become a model for intelligent manufacturing in Daqing.
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