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156785 First series produced new Volvo XC90 rolls off the line at Torslanda plant

Volvos are made in Sweden, right? Everyone knows that. Only they're also made in Belgium, in China, and soon in South Carolina.

That's where the Swedish automaker has announced it will build its first assembly plant in the United States, demonstrating its commitment not only to the North American market but also to meeting its ambitious growth targets.

Construction on the plant is projected to begin this fall at a site in Berkeley County, not far from the picturesque southern metropolis of Charleston. The project will involve a $500-million investment on the part of Volvo and its parent company Geely, and is slated to begin producing vehicles in 2018.

Initial capacity will be pegged at around 100,000 units annually, which is coincidentally the number of units Volvo aims to sell in the US in the near future. (The plant will also export vehicles to other markets.) Last year Volvo sold just 56,366 units in the United States, almost 8 percent less than it sold the previous year.

Volvo has yet to announce just which models it will manufacture locally in South Carolina, however the S60 and XC60 currently rank far and away as the most popular models in the US market, with the new XC90 expected to figure large once production ramps up.

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