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Volvo to ramp up XC40 production

Going gangbusters: Volvo has been forced to increase production of its new XC40 SUV to meet demand.

China plant enlisted to help meet demand for popular Volvo XC40 small SUV

Volvo logo28 May 2018

By ROBBIE WALLIS

VOLVO Cars has announced it will increase production at its Ghent facility in Belgium, and the Luqiao plant in China to meet demand for the manufacturer’s newest model, the XC40 crossover.
 
According to the Swedish car-maker, it has received nearly 80,000 orders worldwide for the XC40, with its Australian arm securing about 1700 examples, a number it hopes to increase to around 3000 per year.
 
Currently, Australian examples of the XC40 are sourced exclusively from the Ghent plant, with Volvo Cars Australia PR director Greg Bosnich telling GoAuto: “With the demand for our vehicles growing, undoubtably a number of scenarios are being looked at and could ultimately affect global sourcing origins.”
 
At the local launch of the XC40 earlier this month, when asked about the possibility of sourcing XC40s from China Mr Bosnich said: “We never say never to anything in the world, but for now the only plan is that they come from Europe.”
 
The brand has not yet confirmed how much it will ramp up production in terms of numbers.
 
Difference in production quality between plants is not seen as a problem for Volvo, with senior vice-president of design Robin Page saying at the XC40 launch that due to the additional fine-tuning at the Luqiao plant, Chinese vehicles are often of a higher quality.
 
“What we’re finding is that the quality of the cars are actually better in China than they are in Europe,” he said.
 
“Everyone was worried about quality, but as soon as they started the quality was even higher on score than in Europe.
 
“To be honest with you, if you talk to the (European) manufacturing guys they’ve put so much automation into the system, you haven’t got that manual adjust.”
 
He said that due to more humans being employed on the production line, vehicles coming out of Liquao were easier to fine-tune and fix when spotting imperfections.
 
Volvo also used the production news to announce that it will introduce new models based on its Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), which underpins the 40 Series models such as the XC40 and upcoming V40 hatch.
 
“The small SUV segment is the fastest-growing segment in the industry now, and with these additional CMA-based models we expect to benefit further from that growth,” said Volvo Cars president and CEO Hakan Samuelsson.
 
The new models “will include fully electric vehicles and will be sold globally in all major regions” and could also include products from sister brands Lynk & Co and Geely, both of which use the CMA platform.
 
One of the new models could be a small sedan based on the Concept 40.2 revealed two years ago, a jacked-up sedan that shares a visual similarity with the S60 Cross Country.
 
Alternatively, Volvo could produce a coupe version of the XC40, with Mr Page revealing this month that Volvo is studying coupe-style SUVs as a business case.
 
More details on the future products will be revealed at a later date.

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