Now that the factory is about to begin production, it’s poised to serve as a small hedge against tariffs at a time when trade barriers are being erected or built higher almost daily.
“With all the nervousness we have now in the business, we are very glad that we are here with a local factory,” CEO Officer Hakan Samuelsson said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “Without that, we would be even more worried about the future.”
The carmaker on June 20 will reveal its new S60 mid-size sedan, a redesign of the model that Volvo has been producing in China and importing into the U.S. Making the car in South Carolina enables the company to sidestep the tariffs President Donald Trump plans to apply to Chinese autos. But with the model accounting for less than 9 percent of Volvo’s U.S. sales this year through May, most of Volvo’s lineup will still be exposed to import taxes.
As a Swedish carmaker owned by a Chinese billionaire and creating jobs in the American South, Volvo is a poster child for how globally interconnected the auto industry has become. It’s been flourishing under the light-touch patronage of its owner, Li Shufu’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., investing $11bn since 2010 to expand and modernize its manufacturing footprint and overhaul its product lineup.
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