Volvo to build first new European auto plant in 60 years – Automotive News

Volvo will use its most advanced platform when it starts production at a new assembly plant in Kosice, Slovakia, in 2026.

Volvo announced the $1.25 billion project — its first new plant in Europe in almost 60 years — early this month with an indication that the Swedish automaker envisions going beyond its current global sales target of 1.2 million vehicles by 2025.

The plant will be able to produce 250,000 vehicles a year, but Volvo declined to say what model will be made there.

However, Geert Bruyneel, Volvo’s head of global manufacturing, told Automotive News Europe that the vehicle architecture used at the new plant “will be a successor to SPA2,” the automaker’s newest electric-only architecture that will underpin a forthcoming flagship SUV, as well as the Polestar 3.

Both of those battery-powered premium large SUVs will go into production this year at Volvo’s U.S. factory near Charleston, S.C.

Construction of the Kosice factory is set to start next year. Series production of Volvo’s next-generation EVs is scheduled to start in 2026, the company said, adding that about 20 percent of the investment is expected to be covered by the Slovakian government.

“Expansion in Europe, our largest sales region, is crucial to our shift to electrification and continued growth,” Volvo CEO Jim Rowan said in a news release that announced the project.

Volvo’s next flagship crossover, which will take over a role currently held by the XC90, will be full electric and could pay homage to the Swedish automaker’s lineage.

Volvo has not revealed the name of the first model that will use SPA2 but has said it will deviate from using alphanumeric names such as XC90 and XC60 on future vehicles.

Volvo filed for trademark protection last October for the name Embla, according to Australian news site Drive. In Norse mythology, Embla is the name of the first woman.

Volvo will share the further evolved version of SPA2 that is planned for Kosice with sibling brands owned by Zhejiang Geely Holding.

“This is the next generation in our technology journey,” Volvo’s head of industrial strategy, Erik Severinson, told Automotive News Europe.

Bruyneel said that journey includes making aluminum body parts through an emerging manufacturing process called megacasting, which allows multiple metal parts to be formed as a single large piece.

Volvo’s largest and oldest car plant, located in Torslanda, Sweden, will be ready for megacasting by 2025, which coincides with the production start for the first full-electric car at the factory.

Volvo executive Mikael Fermer said earlier this year that switching to the new technique for car construction “is the biggest technology shift since we switched from wood to steel [for car bodies].”

Bruyneel said Volvo will look to mirror Torslanda in the move to megacasting, with an eye toward taking the technique, which is used by Tesla, to an even higher level at the Slovakia plant.

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