Volvo planning to close the plant making convertible in 2013 due to low sales

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 4, 2011

Due to inadequate volumes for the C70 folding hardtop convertible, Volvo Car Corp.’s plant in Uddevalla, Sweden, will be shut down in 2013. Volvo said that this factory, which is co-owned with Italian car design company Pininfarina S.p.A., built 10,000 cars in 2010. It is currently operating at 65 percent of its capacity.

The researcher said that for a plant to be considered profitable, it has to achieve a minimum of 80 percent utilization.

In a statement, Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby said that the low volumes of a single model in the Uddevalla plant do not give a good reason for continued production, according to Autonews.

Volvo has set a target that by 2020, its annual sales will double to 800,000 cars. It intends to invest up to $11 billion within the next five years to cope with demand in markets such as China, where two new factories will soon open.

Ford Motor Co. sold Volvo last year to China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. for about $1.5 billion. The company said that the plant’s 600 workers may transfer to other Volvo plants, including the main factory in Gothenburg.

Last March, Volvo and Pininfarina agreed to terminate their joint venture. In 2013, Volvo will buy out Pininfarina and close the plant afterwards.

The latest iteration of the Volvo C70 coupe/convertible features a refreshed design that should make it more appealing whether the roof is deployed or not. It remains as safe and as spacious as the outgoing model and still features the three-piece retractable roof. With just a touch of a button, the distinct three-piece metal roof could be fully deployed or retracted in less than 30 seconds, allowing the Volvo C70 to transform from an agile sports coupe to a convenient full convertible and vice-versa.

While conventional hard-top roofs feature a two-piece design, the new C70 comes with an innovative three-piece configuration that allows for reduced folding bulk and increased packaging space. Fedde Talsma, Exterior Chief Designer at Volvo Cars, remarked that they carefully redesigned the front and rear ends of the C70 to better harmonize it with the larger Volvo models. Moreover, Volvo worked to make the C70 more luxurious by employing more exclusive interior materials and trim details.

The latest version of the Volvo C70 is available in three trim levels -- S, SE and SE Lux – each featuring standard elements like Electronic Climate Control (ECC), Trip Computer and cruise control. Three five-cylinder engines are available: a 2.4i petrol engine that provides 170 PS; a 2.4-liter turbodiesel D5 powerplant that develops 180 PS; and the turbocharged petrol T5 engine that delivers 230 PS. Also available is a four-cylinder 2.0D turbodiesel engine that develops up to 136 PS.

Just like its predecessor, the new Volvo C70 features four individual seats – two on the front and another two on the rear. Volvo also updated the interior of the C70 to make it more comfortable and more luxurious. Employing genuine materials like aluminum and wood-effect, the cabin update provided the new C70 with neat surfaces and fine functionality as well as a modern design with unique Scandinavian taste.

Interestingly, the new Volvo C70 comes with the brand’s 'floating' ultra-thin center dashboard that accommodates all primary audio, ventilation controls. This dashboard features a display for the C70’s menu system that allows drivers to customize the locking and sound configurations according to their preferences.

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