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Volvo Announces $500 Million Domestic Assembly Plant In A Move To Rebuild US Market Share

The seemingly implausible chatter but real prospect of Volvo exiting the US market was repudiated last week with the announcement of a $500 million investment in a US assembly plant.

The Chinese owners of the iconic Swedish nameplate believe that domestic manufacturing will be the launch pad to reinvigorate American sales.

Volvo is aiming for the magic number of 100,000 annual US sales to stay competitive, after tumbling from a healthy 140,000 to just 36,000 units delivered annually in the past decade.

And while the new Sino-Swede image is sleeker and a bold enough performer to challenge high-end European rivals, BMW, Mercedes and Audi have already scooped up former Volvo market share.

A recent test drive of the latest Volvo V60 T5 AWD Cross Country wagon, for $49,000, puts the challenge in sharp focus. Gone are the stolid and squared off suburban earth-mother wagons. The new V60 is sharp and slick with aggressive front styling and a rally sport profile. The 2.5 Liter 5 Cylinder 250 horsepower engine gives the wagon real punch and the suspension with the corner traction control and torque vectoring, is well suited spirited driving.