Just when it’s preparing for a North American debut, the all-new Volvo XC40 is entering its production phase. The small crossover will be manufactured at the Swedish company’s Ghent plant in Belgium with the first customer-bound examples already rolling off the assembly lines.
With more than 13,000 orders already received, Volvo will be busy producing enough examples of the XC40 to in the next couple of months. The first customer cars will be delivered to their new owners early next year, according to Volvo.
“This is a proud day for Ghent, the company and all our employees here. The XC40 represents a bright future for Ghent and for Volvo Cars,” Volvo Cars chief executive and president Hakan Samuelsson comments.
The XC40 is Volvo’s first car based on the new CMA platform, developed in cooperation with Geely, which will also underpin all future models of the 40 series. The Ghent plant, where the XC40 will be manufactured, has been slightly expanded and restructured to meet the requirements of the new production processes. Currently, the facility also assembles the V40 and V40 Cross Country hatches, and the S60 and V60.
No less than 363 new robots have been installed in the factory, including a robot Volvo calls “The Beast.” It’s a large robot, which is unique within the Volvo global manufacturing system, which lifts lower car bodies to a conveyor belt close to the ceiling of the plant.
The new XC40 is already available to order in the United States with prices starting at $35,200 for the all-wheel-drive T5 model in base Momentum trim. The fancier R-Design version wears a price tag of $37,700 with the same T5 AWD setup. The most expensive XC40 costs $45,935.
Next summer, the lineup will be expanded with the addition of the more affordable front-wheel-drive T4, starting at $33,200.
Gallery: 2018 Volvo XC40 production
A new era starts for the Volvo Cars plant in Ghent, Belgium today 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 Cars’ first ever small premium SUV. The first customers can expect to take delivery of their new XC40 early next year.
With the XC40, Volvo Cars enters the fastest growing segment in the automotive industry and the car paves the way for continued sales and revenue growth for the company. Joining its larger XC60 and XC90 cousins, the XC40 completes Volvo’s global SUV line-up.
The arrival of the first XC40 will be welcomed by a number of high-profile guests, including Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, Volvo Cars chief executive and president Håkan Samuelsson and Javier Varela, Senior Vice President Manufacturing and Logistics at Volvo Cars.
“This is a proud day for Ghent, the company and all our employees here,” said Mr Samuelsson. “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 Volvo Cars’ new modular small car platform, the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), which will underpin all upcoming cars in the 40 series. The CMA platform, co-developed with 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” by Ghent employees. This large robot, unique within Volvo Cars’ global manufacturing system, 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.