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Old 02-04-2005, 06:10   #1 (permalink)
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US:Volvo could move to build vehicles in North America

Volvo could move to build vehicles in North America if automaker reaches full capacity

AMY WILSON | Automotive News

Volvo could build models in North America someday, Ford Motor Co. executive Mark Fields says.

But any Premier Automotive Group brand must exhaust capacity at existing plants before Ford would establish new production locations, says Fields, executive vice president for Ford of Europe and PAG.

"In Volvo's case, we're approaching full capacity," Fields says. "As we look at future incremental products, we will absolutely consider producing elsewhere."

Fields says Ford is studying manufacturing in China for one of its PAG brands, which is likely Volvo.

But a U.S. manufacturing base also would make sense for Volvo.

The United States is the Swedish brand's largest market. And the weak dollar is shrinking margins on vehicles shipped from Europe.

Ford has excess capacity in its U.S. manufacturing plants. One plant - Chicago, which produces the Ford Five Hundred and Freestyle and Mercury Montego - already is equipped to produce cars based on Volvo's P2 platform. Ford also could build Volvo-based cars at its assembly plant in Atlanta this decade.

Volvo's retiring U.S. sales chief, Vic Doolan, has said he thinks that assembling Volvos, particularly crossover vehicles, in the United States would be a smart move.
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