Some 40 years ago, Honda built the first international auto factory in Ohio. Today, a dozen car companies from Japan, Germany, Korea, and now Sweden, have built more plants in Texas, Alabama, West Virginia, Georgia, Indiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Kentucky, and South Carolina.
For all intents and purposes, these vehicles from Kia, Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, BMW, Mercedes -- and now Volvo -- are American models that are made with a lot of imported parts. See, American doesn't really define autos anymore; global is a better term.
Still, for most automakers it pays to establish a base in the U.S. The move makes economic sense for the auto companies and radically boosts local economies.
Volvo has invested $1.1 billion in its new South Carolina plant and manufacturing operations and will ultimately create about 4,000 new jobs. Workers who qualify have steady, good-paying jobs and healthcare along with other benefits.
Volvo is building its S60 at the new factory and expects to produce 150,000 units of S60 and XC90 vehicles for both the U.S. market and export.
We drove the S60 midsize sedan. The S60's elegance has a distinct Swedish flavor -- nothing overwrought. Crisp uninterrupted lines extend front to back and the grounded stance project Volvo's enduring image as one of the safest vehicles on the road.
The S60 is the first Volvo not to have a diesel offering, as Volvo is electrifying all vehicles beginning in 2019. The 2019 S60 has three engine choices including a T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid, eight-speed automatic, and either FWD or AWD. The T6 produces a combined 316 horsepower, and T8 delivers 400 horsepower. Volvo's T5 and T6 gas engines will be available at launch. We drove the T6 version, which produced a nice rush from the starting gate and acceleration that promises an apex at every corner. Translation: it is really fun to drive.
Once you settle into the S60, there will be details you won't be able to live without: its well-scaled center screen, its luxurious trim, and capable connectivity (although the navigation system gave us some angst). It comes in red -- and other colors. But think about it
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