Not that long ago, the Chinese built nothing but cheap and poorly made vehicles. Well, things have changed. So much so, that Volvo says the vehicles it builds in the People’s Republic are actually superior in quality than those it makes in Europe.
During an interview with Australia’s Go Auto, Volvo senior vice-president of design Robin Page admitted that some were concerned about the Swedish marque’s decision to build many of its vehicles in China.
“What we’re finding is that the quality of the cars are actually better in China than they are in Europe. Everyone was worried about quality, but as soon as they started the quality was even higher than in Europe,” Page commented.
Various other automakers are turning to Chinese factories
According to Page, Geely’s Chinese factories produce such high-quality vehicles because they rely less on automation and have tighter tolerances.
“To be honest with you, if you talk to the (European) manufacturing guys, they’ve put so much automation into the system, you haven’t got that manual adjust. They’ve got more people on it, less automation, which actually gives you that ability to get tighter on the tolerances … and make finer adjustments.
“It’s not a massive difference, but if you do scores-to-scores and averages, China’s pretty damn good, so we’re not so worried about that now,” Page added.
Volvo started exporting Chinese-built vehicles around the world in 2014 with the previous-generation, long-wheelbase S60. Additionally, the company moved production of its range-topping S90 sedan from Sweden to China at the end of 2016. Other vehicles from Geely, including various electric Volvos and Lynk & Co models, will be built in, and exported from, China, too.