A new era starts for the Volvo Cars plant in Ghent, Belgium in November 2017 as the first customer-bound XC40 small SUV is set to roll off the production line. The new XC40, for which the company has already received over 13,000 orders, is Volvo’s first ever small premium SUV next to the XC60 and XC90 cousins. The first customers can expect to take delivery of their new XC40 early next year.
"This was a proud day for Ghent, the company and all our employees here," said Håkan Samuelsson, Senior Vice President Manufacturing. "Our people have put in long days and many hours to prepare the plant for the start of XC40 production and they have done a great job. The XC40 represents a bright future for Ghent and for Volvo Cars."
The new XC40 is the first model on the new modular small car platform CMA, which will underpin all upcoming cars in the 40 series. The CMA platform, co-developed with the Chinese mother-company Geely, will provide Volvo Cars with the necessary synergies and economies of scale for the small premium car segment.
Preparations for the production start of the XC40 in Ghent have been ongoing for a long time. Considerable investments in recent years have transformed the Ghent plant into a global export hub for CMA-based cars, including an 8,000 square metre addition to the body shop. A total of 363 new robots have been installed, including one which has been nicknamed "the Beast". This large robot is used to lift lower car bodies to a conveyor belt close to the ceiling of the plant.
Ghent is one of two car manufacturing plants operated by Volvo Cars in Europe and has produced Volvos since 1965. Until recently it produced the first generation of Volvo’s best-selling XC60 mid-size SUV, while the Ghent plant also builds the V40 and V40 Cross Country small hatchbacks as well as the S60 and V60.
Volvo Cars’ other European plant is located in Torslanda in its home country Sweden. The company also operates two vehicle manufacturing plants in China, while a US plant is under construction in the state of South Carolina and slated for opening in the second half of 2018.
Photos: Volvo Cars
SHARE THIS ARTICLE