Volvo may expand export markets for China-built cars beyond U.S.

Volvo may expand export markets for China-built cars beyond U.S.

Volvo Car Group, which will start shipping Chinese-produced midsize sedans for sale in the United States later this year, may add additional export markets in the Asia-Pacific region and elsewhere, CEO Hakan Samuelsson said.

Volvo, which is owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., earlier this week announced that it plans to ship the S60L, a long wheelbase version of the S60 sedan, to the U.S. The automaker began producing the model in the southwestern China city of Chengdu more than a year ago.

The car will be called Volvo S60 Inscription in the U.S. market. Samuelsson said the automaker plans to sell 1,500 of the cars in the U.S. this year and 5,000 a year eventually.

Asked about using its factories in China to export to markets other than the United States, Samuelsson said, “there might be cases similar” to the S60 Inscription in the future.

“We rule out nothing, but it has to be something attractive for the customer and cost-wise it has to make sense,” Samuelsson told Reuters earlier this week on the sidelines of the Detroit auto show.

“We want to grow in Asia-Pacific,” he said, noting that Volvo might possibly export Chinese-made cars to the Southeast Asia region.

In addition to the S60 Inscription, Samuelsson said Volvo might also consider exporting a large Chinese-made sedan based on a newly developed platform, referred to internally as the S90.

The S90 will be the second vehicle based on that new architecture, following the redesigned XC90 SUV.

Volvo announced late last year that it would produce “a large premium sedan” at a new plant in the northeastern Chinese city of Daqing. Volvo began producing the XC Classic, the previous generation of the redesigned XC90, at Daqing in September.

“We will build (the S90) for Chinese demand of course, but we don’t rule out export demand for that car” either, Samuelsson said.