Volvo’s human resources cheif Björn Sällström is currently in China looking for office space. He confirmed that Volvo’s China headquarters will be somewhere in the Jiading District of Shanghai, where one of the financiers behind Geely’s purchase of Volvo is based.
However, it remains unclear exactly where the Volvo factory will be set up.
”We’re not going to build something new, in any case,” Sällström told the TT news agency.
The first wave of 50 Volvo employees is just the start, however.
”This is what we need in the first phase. Then we can expand,” said Sällström.
Last week it was revealed that Lars Danielson, head of Volvo’s Torslanda factory outside of Gothenburg in western Sweden, will oversee production in China.
He will report to Volvo’s head of China operations, Freeman Shen, formerly deputy CEO of Geely Group.
Volvo also plans to hire around 200 local employees with varying skill sets.
”There are a lot of capable Chinese engineers. But we also want to have our own people becuase they have competence about Volvo,” said Sällström.
Plans call for Volvo’s new S60 to be built in the Chinese factory, which is expected to be operating at full capacity by 2012, according to Sällström.
Areas being scouting for Volvo’s factory include the Shanghai region, as well as Chongqing and Chengdu, both located in southwestern China.
In Chongqing, Volvo’s previous owners, US automaker Ford, cooperated with Changan Motors to manufacture the Volvo S40 as well as elongated versions of the S80.
As a result, about 15 Volvo employees are already in China and Sällström expects production at the site to continue for two to three more years.