The first customer-bound XC40 from Volvo's Ghent, Belgium plant rolled off the line today. It's the first of 13,000 XC40s for which there are already orders, so the plant is going to be busy.

Deliveries aren't slated to begin for a while, but the XC40 is expected to reach its happy home early in 2018, so Volvo doesn't have long to get these cars ready.

"This is a proud day for Ghent, the company and all our employees here," said Hakan Samuelsson, Volvo CEO. "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 first XC40 was welcomed into the world by a cadre of dignitaries, including Samuelsson, Charles Michel, Belgium's Prime Minister, and Javier Varela, Volvo's Senior VP of Manufacturing and Logistics.

More than 363 robots were involved in the production of the XC40 including "the Beast" a giant robot so-named for its ability to lift car bodies up to a conveyor belt near the ceiling.

The XC40 launched recently and is the first model on Volvo's Compact Modular Architecture (CMA). It is expected to share its platform with a sedan or hatchback (perhaps both) that will presumably be called the S40 or V40.