Volvo to start assembling cars in India
Operations commence in Bangalore later this year
If there is one question Volvo representatives have to field at every press gathering, it's this: "Any plans for local assembly?" That question is usually followed by a dismissive "No", and that's that. But there's a reason for journalists to be asking that question, because Volvo has gradually grown with every passing year. There are more and more people buying its cars – last year, Volvo sold over 1,400 cars here, a great deal more than it did in 2015. As Volvo has realised, the time to go local is now, and finally, its answer to that oft-asked question is in the affirmative.
Volvo can get a crack on with its local assembly plans, as it is looking to utilise the land and infrastructure put in place by its truck and bus division, down south in Hoskote, on the outskirts of Bangalore. There is no clear definition of when assembly will commence, but we're told it should happen before the end of the calendar year.
Speaking on the development, Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars, said, “I am pleased that as of this year we will be able to start selling Volvos that are Made in India. “Starting vehicle assembly in India is an important step for Volvo Cars as we aim to grow our sales in this fast-growing market and double our market share in the premium segment in coming years.”
The first car to be put together at this facility will be the XC90, and other cars based on Volvo's Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform will follow suit. This means that the current generation V40 and S60 will continue to be shipped in as CBUs, while the newer-generation models will be localised. That includes the new S90, the incoming XC60 as well as the V90 Cross Country, which is slated for a 2017 launch.
Of course, there will be a significant benefit to be obtained from signing up to 'Make in India', but whether that benefit is passed on to buyers remains to be seen. Volvos are already aggressively priced, so local assembly should only result in a marginal – if at all – price drop.
First drive: Volvo V90 Cross Country