Are You Ready for a Chinese Volvo?
Volvo is planning to sell a long-wheelbase version of the S60 -- the S60L -- in the United States that will be built in China, and it could be here as early as the end of next year. Given the Volvo brand's heritage as a Swedish car company, are you ready to buy a Volvo produced in China? According to a report from Reuters, "a senior Volvo executive said the Swedish automaker would start exporting Chinese-made sedans, a long-wheel-based version of the S60 called the S60L, to the United States and the XC90 utility crossover to Russia as early as the end of next year." PHOTOS: Full Galleries of the Volvo Concept Estate When the Wall Street Journal reported on Volvo's vision to sell a Chinese car in the United States last November, it was something that may have been on the horizon. Now it appears to be a reality. Quoted in November, Chief Executive Hakan Samuelsson said he was looking at the pros and cons of bolstering the company’s U.S. product lineup with smaller vehicles made in China, not an S60 variant, one of the core products in Volvo's lineup.
“No one cares if Volvos come from…Ghent” in Belgium or Sweden, he said. “Nationalities are for football.”
That may well be true, but in the United States, football is a completely different game. Whether it's reality or perceived reality, a lot of Americans who used to have manufacturing jobs -- like those building cars, for example -- feel as if their jobs have have left the United States for China.
PHOTOS: Full Galleries of the 2014 Volvo S60
And then there's that pesky Taiwan Relations Act, which has been in effect since 1979. It potentially requires the U.S. to intervene militarily if the People's Republic of China ever attacks or invades Taiwan. According to Chris Rahman, a Research Fellow at the Centre for Maritime Policy, writing for the U.S. Naval War College, "the status of Taiwan has...been the primary irritant affecting Sino-U.S. relations, a point placed in stark relief by the 1996 missile crisis, when the United States deployed two carrier battle groups near the island.
Volvo's Samuelsson said it could be that the first Chinese-made cars sold in significant volume in the U.S. will be Volvos. “It could very well happen,” he said. It may happen, but will Americans buy them?
Image Source: Volvo