Volvo Cars selects South Carolina for its first American factory
(ROCKLEIGH, NJ – May 11, 2015) Volvo Cars has chosen Berkeley County, South Carolina as the location of its first American factory, investing up to $500 Million in a facility with a capacity to initially produce up to 100,000 cars per year.
The Berkeley County factory, located outside of Charleston, will make latest generation Volvo models for sale in the United States and for export. Construction will begin in early autumn 2015, with the first vehicles expected to roll off the assembly line in 2018.
Once completed, Volvo Cars will be able to manufacture vehicles on three continents, underscoring its position as a truly global car maker. It already operates two plants in Europe and two in China. The new US plant forms part of an ambitious medium term expansion plan to double global sales, boost market share and lift profitability.
“This new global industrial footprint and a complete product renewal forms the foundation for our growth and profitability targets,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Car Corporation.
Volvo began importing cars to the US in 1955. With the development of an American factory, the company crosses an important threshold from an automotive importer to a domestic manufacturer.
“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 decision to choose Berkeley County was taken as a result of its easy access to international ports and infrastructure, a well-trained labor force, attractive investment environment and experience in the high tech manufacturing sector.
Volvo Cars estimates that the factory will employ up to 2,000 people over the next decade and up to 4,000 people in the longer term. An economic impact analysis compiled by Dr. Frank Hefner at the College of Charleston estimates that, for an initial 2,000 direct jobs, more than 8,000 total jobs would be created as a result. The plant would contribute approximately $4.8 billion in total economic output on an annual basis.
“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,” said Nikki Haley, Governor of South Carolina, “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.”
readySC™, a division of the S.C. Technical College System, is assisting with the recruitment and training for positions at the new plant. All information on hiring will be posted as available at the readySC portal, readysc.org/volvo/. Potential suppliers or vendors interested in doing business with the company should contact the South Carolina Department of Commerce’s Buy South Carolina program by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volvo XC90 receives the renowned Red Dot ‘Best of the Best’ Product Design Award
- Volvo XC90 impresses Red Dot jury with high quality and pioneering design
- Red Dot: Best of the Best - highest individual product design award
Volvo Cars has been awarded one of the world’s premier product design awards for its ground-breaking XC90 luxury SUV.
The Best of the Best award, based on the results of a 38-strong international jury of experts, was presented to Volvo for the XC90’s pioneering design and high level of quality. The car was chosen from almost 5,000 participating product designs across 31 product categories in the much coveted Red Dot awards.
"The new XC90 is the vanguard of Volvo’s new design direction. In our work on this car we have been very much aware of Volvo’s heritage, the value of authenticity and Scandinavian design, but we have also taken some bold and progressive steps forward, aiming for a design style and execution level that pushes our boundaries. I am very proud that our new flagship has won the prestigious Red Dot: Best of the Best award," said Thomas Ingenlath, Senior Vice President Design at Volvo Cars.
The XC90 represents a new beginning for Volvo in terms of design philosophy and has been credited with taking the luxury SUV to a new level. Characterized by precision design and attention to detail, the XC90 paves the way for future Volvo car designs with signature design elements. These include the new face of Volvo with a new Volvo logo and a floating grille, and the celebrated T-shaped ‘Thor’s Hammer’ daytime running lights.
The XC90 design was made possible thanks to the new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) which will underpin many of Volvo’s forthcoming models which supports the dynamic and balanced proportions of the new XC90.
Carrying the precision and pioneering exterior design inside the car, Head of Volvo Design, Thomas Ingenlath and his team have created a serene and relaxing interior combining the finest natural materials such a leather, wood and crystal with a calming and luxurious take on Scandinavian Design. This is also reflected in the way that Volvo approached the total redesign of the information displays and interaction in the car, reducing complexity and creating a uniquely intuitive interface.
"It is particularly challenging to develop a new design language which refers to well-known brand values while presenting a modern, desirable interpretation. The all-new Volvo XC90 symbolizes the cornerstone of a complete new generation of cars where our progressive design combines innovative technology with Scandinavian design virtues and stands for a new individual approach in the premium segment.”
Red Dot: Best of the Best is awarded for pioneering design and is the highest individual Red Dot award: Product Design. Only the outstanding products in a category receive this award - in 2015, only 81 products from 31 categories received the coveted seal of approval.
"For 60 years, the most respected design experts come to Essen in order to reward the best designs. This year we had just under 5,000 products a record number of entries - an extreme workload for our judges who evaluate each product, and due to the high numbers, this illustrates the special value of the awards. The winners of the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2015 have delivered an extremely high level of performance and have therefore been recognized by the largest design competition in the world," said Professor Dr. Peter Zec, initiator and CEO of Red Dot Awards.
The Singh brothers and their Volvo PV 544
It is 50 years this April since Joginder Singh and his brother Jaswant crossed the finish line of the Safari Rally in first place in their Volvo PV 544.
The white Volvo's victory in the world's toughest rally became news all over the world.
Volvo enjoyed worldwide success on numerous occasions in the motorsport arena in the early 1960s. Its participation in events and some victories too generated excellent publicity for Volvo, particularly in the US market. The hunchback Volvo PV544 earned a reputation for being rugged and sporty.
By 1959, Volvo had set up its own competition department and, in 1960, Gunnar Andersson won the 4620-kilometre-long endurance rally, the Gran Premio de Argentina, driving a PV544 with a B16 engine. In 1961, Gunnar Andersson was appointed Volvo's competition department manager, but he continued to compete in rallies. He signed up a number of talented drivers, including Carl-Magnus Skogh, Tom Trana and Ewy Rosqvist.
Volvo invested heavily in the 1964 Safari Rally. Its competition department sent four, white Volvo PV544s down to Kenya which was the starting point of the rally. The Safari cars were powered by a tuned-up B18 engine with 130 hp, reinforced front suspension with Bilstein twin-tube shock absorbers and front disc brakes, two fuel tanks and protective panels underneath the engine, gear box and fuel tanks. A strike led to a serious delay in the delivery of the cars and the team made it to the start of the rally at the eleventh hour without having had any time to practice. The Safari Rally is known as the toughest rally in the world and this year the conditions were harsher than ever. Of the 94 cars that set off, only 21 made it over the finish line. Carl-Magnus Skogh was the only Volvo driver to complete the five-day rally, but did not reach the finish within the time limit. This meant he was given no place in the standings.
Tom Trana's car was left in Kenya with the importer Amazon Motors. Joginder Singh, the seasoned driver from Kenya who had competed several times in the Safari Rally, became interested in Volvo. He borrowed a PV544 from Amazon Motors in 1964 to take part in smaller rallies in Africa. Using his knowledge of engineering, Singh modified and improved the PV after each rally to make it even more suitable for the African conditions.
Five months before the thirteenth Safari Rally in April 1965, Joginder Singh entered into a hire purchase agreement with Amazon Motors to buy the PV544 that Tom Trana had driven the previous year. The crashed car that had already completed two seasons was repaired and then carefully tested by Joginder and his co-driver brother Jaswant.
Although the Singh brothers had enjoyed success in the Safari Rally on previous occasions when driving other makes of car, no one thought the Sikh brothers in their turbans had much of a chance this time. It had been a flop for Volvo the year before and there was stiff competition from several major car stables.
Joginder and Jaswant drew number one for the starting position. In the past, this had been considered an unlucky number in the Safari Rally. It was, without a doubt, a lucky number this year, however. The first stage of the rally was dry and, as the leading car, Singh had good visibility with no one churning up the dust in front of him. The second stage was wet and muddy and the roads quickly became slippery and rutted. But the Volvo was still in the lead and the brothers had a special technique for getting out of the mud. There were two handles fitted to the rear of the car. As Joginder sat at the steering wheel endeavoring to get the narrow rear tires to grip, Jaswant would stand on the rear bumper rocking the car to put more pressure on the drive wheels. It was a human traction control system!
The crowd went wild when the Singh brothers crossed the finish line in Nairobi on the fifth day of the Safari Rally. They also won by the largest margin ever in the rally's history. Second place was taken by Ian Jaffray who drove up to the finish line one hour and 40 minutes later. Joginder has been popularly known as "The Flying Sikh" since then.
Amazon Motors annulled the hire-purchase contract after the race and gave Joginder Singh the car. The winning car, still belonging to the Singh family, has been restored and is on display today at the Volvo Museum in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Joginder Singh continued his rally career, driving various models of Volvo cars for several years. He won the Safari Rally two more times and also competed in the Swedish Rally, although not with the same success. When interviewed, he always maintained that the Volvo PV was his favorite model. Joginder Singh passed away in London in 2013 at the age of 81.