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By Mark Rechtin
Automotive News / September 15, 2003


Firmly planted
Volvo Car's 2004 global volume projections
S40/V40 150,000
S60 100,000
XC90 80,000
S80 50,000
XC70 50,000
V70 70,000
Total 500,000
Note: S40/V40 and S60 built in Ghent, Belgium; others in Torslanda, Sweden

Volvo Car Corp. will not build another assembly plant even if demand warrants it, the automaker's manufacturing chief said last week.

If Volvo needs to expand output beyond the 500,000 units annually its plants in Torslanda, Sweden and Ghent, Belgium, can produce, it will look to Ford Motor Co. plants elsewhere in Europe, said Curt Germundsson, Volvo's senior vice president of manufacturing.

"It makes no sense to take away production for another plant and have those two plants running at 70 percent," Germundsson said.

The Swedish and Belgian plants combined can build about 500,000 vehicles running three shifts. Germundsson said the plants could squeeze another 50,000 units in a pinch.

But even then, Volvo could need more capacity if it reaches its medium-term goal of 600,000 units, especially given the number of model variations coming off the Ford Focus platform. In addition to the S40 sedan and V50 wagon, Volvo is planning a C50 coupe and convertible smaller than the C70, and there is on-again, off-again talk about an XC50 sport wagon.

"If we introduce more cars to increase our volume, or the cars are very different, then those cars should be produced elsewhere in the Ford environment," Germundsson said. "We have facilities for niche vehicles. It makes no sense to introduce them into Ghent or Torslanda."

Germundsson said he would have no problem borrowing capacity from any Ford plant, "so long as they have the right processes and defined demands in quality, cost, delivery, distribution and logistics flow."
 
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