China-made Volvo vehicles will be exported to the United States "fairly quickly," Volvo Car Corp. chief executive Hakan Samuelsson said at the Automotive News World Congress. While Samuelsson would not provide a target date, he indicated that Volvo is in a unique position to use China as a production and export base, as it is owned by the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group.
"It will happen fairly quickly in the Volvo group, but it has to be a process that you discuss with your dealers and sales group," Samuelsson said. He remarked that Volvo is the only one “who can think of using the factories for export,” which the carmaker will be doing."
Samuelsson remarked that US consumers would not react negatively to the notion of a Volvo produced in China since they are already accustomed to sophisticated products built at Chinese factories.
Samuelsson remarked that has spent the past year cutting costs, reshuffling the carmaker’s management team in the US and turning the company around. He added that Volvo is also working on autonomous vehicles and will conduct a joint test with the Swedish government in 2017 with real drivers on public roads.
The Drive Me autonomous-car pilot will employ 100 self-driving Volvo units, and the carmaker and the Swedish government will split the $70 million cost. Samuelsson remarked that driving will never be totally autonomous, since that would crazy, costly and complicated. He said that carmakers should automate "the really boring parts," like driving 55 mph on the highway or sitting in traffic. [source: automotive news - sub. required]