Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby says the Swedish automaker, now owned by Chinese company Geely, is looking for a partner to help it build cars in North America. The automaker doesn’t currently build any cars on this continent, but Bloomberg reports that Jacoby would like Volvo to make inroads in America.
Volvo is reportedly unlikely to build its own plant, and instead would like to partner with another automaker that already has manufacturing facilities here. CEO Jacoby told Bloomberg that, “In the medium term, five to six years, we need to find a proper solution in North America.”
Stefan Jacoby became CEO of Volvo in summer 2010 after Geely fully acquired the Swedish company from Ford. Jacoby had previously served as CEO of Volkswagen of America.
Volvo is said to be in talks with “a couple” of automakers regarding using their North American plants. One of the possibilities is Fiat-Chrysler, as the American-Italian company has numerous facilities in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
“Fiat is obviously one of the alternatives,” Jacoby told Bloomberg. “If you speak to [Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio] Marchionne, just tell him to call me.”
Volvo will probably try to strike a deal with the same company it selects to help build small cars. Jacoby revealed earlier this year that Volvo would like to partner with another automaker to build small cars on its new Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA) chassis design. Similar to Volkswagen’s new MQB chassis, SPA allows for building a large number of Volvo cars in a variety of shapes and sizes on a single, adjustable platform.
The U.S. was the largest sales market for Volvo in 2011, closely followed by Sweden in second place and China in third place. The company plans to grow global sales to 800,000 vehicles annually by 2020 — last year, Volvo sold 449,225 cars globally. Much of that growth will be driven by opening new assembly plants in China, but Volvo also hopes it can grow sales in the U.S., in part by building more vehicles here. In 2011, U.S. Volvo sales grew 24.7 percent year-over-year, the second-highest market gain after a 54.5 percent increase in China.
Sources: Bloomberg, Volvo