This fall, Volvo will break ground for its first-ever U.S. factory, located outside Charleston, South Carolina and expected to begin producing vehicles in 2018.
The Swedish automaker says the decision is part of its “ambitious” plan to double its worldwide sales, and boost market share and profits; in 2014, Volvo sold 4,466 cars to Canadians, down 4.4 percent from the previous year and not even enough to claim a quarter of one percent share of Canada’s new car market.
Naturally, the factory will become a major employer in the area: Volvo estimates the plant will generate 2,000 jobs initially, and could double that in the longer term; the College of Charleston figures the plant’s overall economic impact could total 8,000 jobs and an annual infusion of $4.8 billion into the local economy.
This will be Volvo’s first U.S. plant, but not its first in North America: from 1963 until 1998, Volvo built cars in Halifax, Nova Scotia, at what was then the company’s only factory outside Sweden.
Volvo says it chose to build in South Carolina to take advantage of “easy access to international ports and infrastructure, a well-trained labor force, attractive investment environment and experience in the high tech manufacturing sector.”
Initially, the Charleston plant will be tooled up to produced as many as 100,000 cars per year.