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November 3, 2016

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Volvo Cars gears up to ship models worldwide

VOLVO Cars and its Chinese owner are gearing up to export more premium cars to world markets.

Outlining its latest strategy yesterday, Volvo unveiled upgraded versions of its upscale S90 sedan range, which will be manufactured entirely in China for export, signaling growing confidence in its Chinese production base.

Volvo and its parent company Geely also announced plans for a factory to make compact cars based on a new shared platform, including vehicles for Geely’s just-launched “connected car” brand, Lynk & Co.

It’s part of Volvo Cars’ efforts to compete with other luxury car brands both globally and within China, the world’s No. 1 market, after it was bought by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group in 2010.

“We have a strong manufacturing structure in China, and we are geared up for further growth on this key market,” Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson said.

The new plant will make Volvo’s new 40 series based on its Compact Modular Architecture platform, which will also be used for Lynk & Co vehicles, a brand Geely launched last month.

The factory, under construction in Luqiao, 350 kilometers south of Shanghai, is owned by Geely but will be operated by Volvo.

With only a few thousand vehicles dispatched annually from China, “the number of Volvos going to the US is still small. But the important takeaway is that shipping to the US means Volvo China operations have achieved world-class quality,” said Michael Dunne, president of Hong Kong-based investment advisory firm Dunne Automotive.

Geely Chairman Li Shufu’s decision to give Volvo management ample independence has paid off, he added. Last year, Volvo operating profits tripled and vehicle sales surpassed 500,000 units for the first time.


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