Volvo Looking for a Partner to Build Vehicles in North America; "Open to Everybody"

By Trevor Dorchies | June 24, 2012
There aren't many things worse than a Sadie Hawkins dance, and while they've gone pretty much gone by the wayside, that's exactly what Volvo is finding itself in at the moment. The Swedish automaker, which was acquired by Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group from Ford back in 2010 for $1.8 billion, is seeking a partner to build vehicles in North America. Preferably, Volvo is looking for a partner interested in building in either the United States or Mexico. The move has been spurred by the exchange rate on the euro, in hopes that the dollar will be more kind on manufacturing and assembly costs. "In the medium term, five to six years, we need to find a proper solution in North America," Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby told Automotive News. "Building a plant ourselves is maybe more unlikely. I'm looking for a partner that could help us utilize a North American plant." It remains to be unseen who is interested in entering into a partnership with Volvo but Jacoby did say a "couple" automakers were showing some curiosity. We do know Fiat S.p.A. is in the mix though, as Jacoby divulged that much. Jacoby also said Volvo preferred an automaker that already has a strong presence in either the U.S. or Mexico and that includes Fiat. With Fiat's acquisition of Chrysler Group LLC it would be easy for Volvo to infiltrate assembly facilities in both America and Mexico.
"Fiat is obviously one of the alternatives," Jacoby said to Automotive News. "If you speak to [Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio] Marchionne, just tell him to call me." Chrysler currently builds vehicles in Belvidere, Ill. (Dart), Detroit (Jeep Grand Cherokee, Dodge Durango), Toledo, Ohio (Jeep Liberty, Jeep Wrangler), and Warren, Mich. (Ram 1500). In Mexico, Chrysler has assembly facilities in Saltillo (Ram 1500, 2500, 3500, 4500, and 5500) and Toluca (Dodge Journey, Fiat 500). All of Chrysler's transmission, casting, machining, and axle operations take place within the United States with the exception of the Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada facility. All of Chrysler's engines are manufactured either in various Michigan locations or in Saltillo. All of these sites would be a welcoming sign for an automaker like Volvo, which is looking to build more vehicles in either America or Mexico. Source: Automotive News (subscription required)