Today's a big day for Volvo. Not only is it unveiling the final piece in its current puzzle, the S60, but it's about ready to flip the switch on a plant that will serve Volvo both in the US and abroad.
Volvo will soon begin production at its newest facility in Charleston, South Carolina. It will start out as the home of the 2019 S60 sedan, which is set to be revealed later on Wednesday, and the lines will eventually grow to include the next-generation, including any plug-in hybrid variants. Volvo estimates that S60 production will start in the fall, but the next XC90 won't join in the fun until 2021. When it's operating at full capacity, it should be able to build about 150,000 cars per year.
No matter the vehicle, though, whatever comes out of the Volvo plant in Charleston will be destined for not only the US, but international customers, as well. But the US will be the primary benefactor. Not just in terms of cars, but in terms of jobs -- Volvo is investing about $1.1 billion in its US efforts and the plant should create about 4,000 new jobs in the Charleston area over the next several years.
It's not just assembly, either. The site will also have an office building for 300 staff members working in R&D, purchasing, quality and sales.
Volvo's timing couldn't be better. With rumors of looming tariffs on internationally built luxury cars, establishing a base of operations in the US is a wise idea. And the S60's platform means that, if worse came to absolute worse, there's a chance the automaker could shift additional production to the US without needing to reinvent the wheel.