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Low S60 Demand in America Spells Trouble for Charleston Plant

Volvo’s only US plant is struggling mightily through this pandemic. The plant, which currently produces the S60 “really needs an SUV,” says Volvo CEO, Hakan Samuelsson.

The troubles started, as you might expect, with the COVID-19 pandemic. That meant a shut down from March through to May 11. Then supplier issues in Mexico meant that the plant had to shut down again.

Even if the plant had been operating the whole time, though, reports Automotive News, the South Carolina plant would have been facing trouble. With sales down 25% in the US, Volvo only managed to move 6,700 S60s in the US. Globally, the number is more than 16,000—which is an increase, but one that still doesn’t keep a plant afloat. 

“First is the disturbances in the supply of parts from Mexico. But it’s also a supply-and-demand issue for the S60. There is definitely a market trend toward SUVs,” Samuelsson told AN.

Volvo does have a plan to introduce SUVs to the plant, but that won’t be until 2022. Hopefully, by then though, it will have been worth it, because the SUV in question is the electric version of the XC90.

The new vehicle will be based on the third-get XC90 and will capitalize on the trend of electric SUVs. With any luck, it will be enough to make concerns for the plant as historical as the internal combustion engine.

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