In order to do well in China, automakers have to consider making at least one long-wheelbase model. Chinese-owned Volvo knows that very well and has just started series production of the new S60L, a longer version of its S60 sedan, at its manufacturing plant in Chengdu, China. The long-wheelbase S60L will premiere at the Guangzhou Motor Show on November 21.
The first car to roll off the production line was a ‘Seashell’-colored S60L. Volvo sees China as its second home market after Sweden, so building cars tailored for the world’s largest car market, such as the S60L, is essential for the premium car manufacturer’s long-term strategy and business plan. The carmaker targets global sales of 800,000 a year by 2020.
Volvo’s sales in China have been strong so far this year, with retail deliveries up over 40 percent compared with the same period in 2012. The most successful models are the XC60, S60 and V60, with the V40 also being received very well by Chinese customers. There are over 150 Volvo dealerships in China at the moment, up from around 100 two years ago.
“We are truly firing on all cylinders in China,” said Lars Danielson, Senior Vice President Volvo Cars China Operations. “The official start of series production in Chengdu is only the latest of many milestones we have achieved in recent years,” he added.
Volvo also has an engine plant in Zhangjiakou that has become operational this autumn. In total, the company has over 2,000 employees in China, around half of whom work at the Volvo Cars China headquarters in Shanghai.
By Dan Mihalascu