Swedish automaker Volvo is hosting a celebration at its new plant in Berkeley County on Wednesday.
At 11 a.m., the company will inaugurate the manufacturing center and reveal its 2019 S60 sedan, which will be the first Volvo ever produced exclusively in the U.S. The vehicle will also be the first Volvo without a diesel engine option.
Several dignitaries are expected to attend the ceremony including Gov. Henry McMaster, Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson, Volvo Americas CEO Anders Gustafsson, and Swedish Ambassador to the U.S. Karin Olofsdotter.
Volvo broke ground on its Ridgeville plant in 2015. The facility is capable of producing up to 100,000 vehicles per year. The first S60 sedans are expected to roll off the assembly line this fall, and will be exported to destinations around the world through the Port of Charleston.
Volvo estimates that its new plant will employ up to 2,000 people within the next decade, and up to 4,000 people after that. Dr. Frank Hefner, an economics professor at the College of Charleston, estimates that more than 8,000 new jobs will be created because of the Volvo plant, which is expected to generate a total annual economic output of $4.8 billion.
The 2019 S60 will have a number of hybrid engine options and an option for an all-electric battery driven powertrain. Volvo is trying to phase out its diesel and gasoline engines. By 2025, the company hopes to have electric vehicles make up 50-percent of its global sales.
“Our future is electric and we will no longer develop a new generation of diesel engines,” said Samuelsson. “We will phase out cars with only an internal combustion engine, with petrol hybrid versions as a transitional option as we move towards full electrification. The new S60 represents the next step in that commitment.”
News 2 will be at Volvo’s Ridgeville plant for Wednesday’s celebration. Tune in for live coverage.