Volvo Cars recently announced plans to expand operations in Berkeley County ahead of production of a second vehicle in 2022, the next-generation XC90 SUV. Over the next three years, Volvo plans to hire and train about 2,500 more workers and build on to existing buildings to accommodate the second vehicle, before the beginning of U.S. production in 2022.
Volvo Cars XC90 SUV in High Demand
“We’ll start building the next-generation XC90 in 2022, so we’ll have to do a big influx of hiring in 2020-2021,” Volvo Cars spokeswoman Stephanie Mangini said. The XC90 SUV is a popular vehicle and is in high demand. The Volvo plant currently produces 24 cars per hour, which will result in 50,000 new cars in its first year of operations. Volvo has set the stage for increased car production and growth of its campus in the next few years.
The plant expects to have 4,000 employees working on its S60 sedans and XC90 SUVs by 2022 and the launch of the second vehicle will increase production rates to 150,000 vehicles. “We’re already working on the project plan for what that’s going to look like and how we are going to have to shift some things to be able to support that growth,” Mangini said.
Volvo Expects Preparation to Begin on the Berkeley County Site in the Next Year
The largest expansion for the Volvo campus will be to the 500,000 square-foot body shop and the 900,000 square-foot final assembly shop. The 700,000 square-foot paint shop was already built to accommodate a second vehicle but will have some interior enhancements, according to Volvo spokesperson Stephanie Mangini.
The Volvo Car Charleston plant already has 1,500 workers producing the S60s, which is the first time the Swedish based and Chinese owned automaker is building cars in the United States. Finished vehicles are taken by trucks to inland dealerships or to the Port of Charleston.
Volvo began sending cars to North American dealerships in late 2018 and began exporting vehicles abroad in March of 2019. Half of the S60 sedans built at the Berkeley County plant are slated to go to North American customers and the other half will be exported to nearly 100 countries.
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