For the record, Volvo operated a North American assembly plant for more than 30 years. It was kit-assembly operation in Halifax, Nova Scotia, that -- beginning in 1963 -- assembled 6,000 to 8,000 cars a year from cartons of premade bodies, engines and parts shipped from Sweden.
That operation closed in 1998, just as Germany's luxury automakers were getting under way here.
Things have changed dramatically for Volvo, which was acquired, and then sold, by Ford Motor Co. Geely Automobile of China bought Volvo in 2010 for $1.8 billion.
Fjording is no stranger to Volvo's changing global supply chain, nor to its recent strategy in manufacturing. Before taking her new assignment in the United States for Kerssemakers, she set up the automaker's two manufacturing and engine factories in China. She says there will be similarities between the Chinese ventures and how the new U.S. plant is designed and operates.
But at least for a while, increasing local content in the U.S. venture won't be Volvo's immediate priority, she makes clear.
"You can't turn things around overnight. We have to source some components globally for the whole cluster" she says, referring to what Volvo calls its 60 cluster, which includes the redesigned XC60 crossover, V60 station wagon and the V60 Cross Country. Stepping up local sourcing levels is something that "we tend to do where it is most efficient, where it is most cost effective with shipping and the actual cost of the componentry," she says.
"Some components will come from China because they are globally sourced. Some will come from Europe going to all the plants. We are hoping now that some components will come from North America going to all the plants as well."
The Chinese supplier Scivic, which supports Volvo in China, will provide undisclosed components for U.S. final assembly. "They have proven adequate," she says. "They have a partner here and we will be sourcing them and we thought that was natural."
Volvo also plans more modular assembly for the S60, and to perform the work in-house. It might ask some suppliers to assemble those components before delivery.