GOTHENBURG, Sweden - Volvo's October press briefing in Sweden saw company officials announce plans to begin partially assembling engines for the North American market at the company's soon-to-be transformed plant in Hagerstown, Maryland early next...
GOTHENBURG, Sweden – Volvo’s October press briefing in Sweden saw company officials announce plans to begin partially assembling engines for the North American market at the company’s soon-to-be transformed plant in Hagerstown, Maryland early next year.
While approximately 3/4 of each Volvo Truck engine will be assembled at the Volvo foundry and plant in Skvde, Sweden, the remaining quarter of each engine for the North American market will be assembled in Hagerstown.
The partial assembly in the U.S. will mean Volvo can avoid paying some of the import tariffs on engines fully assembled outside the U.S. All engine components, however, will continue to be built at the Volvo foundry in Skvde.
Federal and state officials joined Volvo Group executives and Mack Powertain Division employees at the Hagerstown plant Oct. 8 to celebrate the beginning of the transformation of the facility into the North American Center of Excellence for powertrain operations of the Volvo Group.
Maryland Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., and the Swedish ambassador to the United States, Jan Eliasson, joined officials from Mack and the Volvo Group in a ceremony celebrating the start of construction on a new engine development laboratory building there.
“The investment in Hagerstown represents a major commitment from the Volvo Group to the North American truck market,” said Lars-Gran Moberg, president and CEO of Volvo Powertrain, responsible for the entire powertrain operations of the Sweden-based Volvo Group.
The new laboratory building is slated to house testing areas and equipment, and use the latest in communications and Internet-based technology to link with Volvo’s other engine development facilities in Gothenburg, Sweden, Lyon, France and Curitiba, Brazil.
The aim is to create a global research and development capability for the Volvo Group, said Moberg.
In addition to the new laboratory building, the transformation project includes investment in the production areas within the plant. The investment will prepare the facility, which has been manufacturing Mack engines since 1961, to begin production of Volvo engines for Volvo Trucks North America early next year. Mack production will continue as well.
Also in Hagerstown, Sten Aronsson, senior vice-president of the Mack Powertrain Division, offered congratulations and praise to the plant’s employees and the public officials who represent them for their role in securing the investment for the Hagerstown plant.
“This achievement is the result of great co-operation and commitment on the part of this community and this state, to ensure that the best truck engines in North America will continue to come from Hagerstown in the future,” he said.
Other speakers included Mack president and CEO Paul Vikner, Volvo Trucks North America president and CEO Peter Karlsten, U.S. EPA Deputy Administrator Steven Johnson and United Auto Workers international representative Jim Rogers.
Roger Johnston, vice president and general manager, served as master of ceremonies for the event.
The event was attended by the plant’s 1,400 employees and several hundred invited guests, and featured a presentation on the transformation project from project leader Hugo van Belleghem.