The first mainstream vehicle made in China will be arriving at showrooms in the United States next year, in form of long-wheelbase version of Volvo S60 sedan – the S60L. Volvo Car Group chief executive Hakan Samuelsson confirmed that the S60L will arrive in the US "absolutely" 2015. Volvo is now owned by Chinese company Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co.
The company started output of the S60L at its Chengdu site China in October 2013 and is ramping up to full production capacity of 120,000 vehicles annually. AutoPacific analyst Ed Kim said that while the S60L will be a low volume car, its significance shouldn’t overstated since Volvo will it as a litmus paper to determine the real-world quality of a China-built car in the US as well as consumer response.
The S60L boasts of a wheelbase that is 3.2 inches longer than that of the S60, which is built in Sweden. According to Samuelsson, Volvo is importing the S60L from China instead of Sweden due to costs, noting production in the Asian country is less expensive, adding that the Chinese yuan is tied to the US dollar rather than the euro, leading to gives more stability.
While China-built vehicles are already being sold by in the US and Canada by other mainstream carmakers and some small companies, S60L would be the first sold by an established auto group.
Samuelsson remarked that Volvo has already learned some about designing large sedans in China, where wealthy owners prefer to be rear passengers rather than drivers. He said that Volvo's future large vehicles will be designed primarily for the US and China.