It was 50 years ago when Volvo opened its Torslanda plant in Gothenburg, Sweden. To mark the anniversary, the automaker not only honored the facility’s past but also secured its future by inaugurating a new manufacturing facility.
On April 24, 2014, exactly 50 years after the original facility was inaugurated, Volvo Cars opened a new 24,000-square-meter manufacturing wing at Torslanda. The expansion is said to boost production from approximately 200,000 units per year to 300,000 units per year.
Volvo Cars President & CEO Håkan Samuelsson said that the new body shop reflects the company’s investment in its future as well as that of Gothenburg.
“It is particularly appropriate that we are today celebrating 50 years of car making in Torslanda at the same time as underlining our commitment to our future as a global car manufacturer by expanding our manufacturing capacity in Gothenburg,” Samuelsson said in a statement.
“What we are saying today is this: Torslanda is both our headquarters and our home,” he added. The city of Gothenburg has been home to Volvo for 87 years.
Volvo Cars intends to reach its sales target of 800,000 vehicles annually by 2020. As a result, it has already expanded production in China. While manufacturing in the world’s largest auto market will certainly help Volvo Cars, the company keeps its home base a priority.
“This investment shows very clearly that Volvo Cars believes in Sweden as production location and also the importance of having manufacturing close to research and development,” said Lars Wrebo, Volvo Cars Senior Vice President Purchasing & Manufacturing.
According to Volvo Cars, the new manufacturing facility is one of the most modern, in terms of both technologies as well as working practices. The production plant will be equipped with about 300 robots, though automation in the production line will be reduced to allow a better working relationship between robots and workers.
As for the teams of workers, these will be smaller. Each team working at the new plant will consist of between 5 to 8 individuals, as opposed to 15 or more in the other parts of the Torslanda facility. The new body shop is expected to employ about 80 workers.
Volvo Cars is pushing through with its $11 billion transformation plan. The hefty investment will be spent on two key projects. The first is the development of its new vehicle architecture called Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), which Volvo described as a “flexible system for making a range of models that improves design, economies of scale and safety.” The second is the development of its Drive-E engine family.
The 2015 Volvo XC90, which will be built in the new body shop, will feature both the SPA and a Drive-E engine. The new SUV is the first Volvo production model underpinned by the new modular platform and powered by the latest range of Drive-E engines.
The XC90 will be launched in late 2014 and will be available for sale in the first quarter of 2015. The SUV, whose styling was derived from that of the Volvo XC Coupe concept, will be equipped with a number of safety technologies.
Photo credit: media.volvocars.com