| CHARLESTON, S.C., April 10
CHARLESTON, S.C., April 10 Volvo Cars would
suffer if the United States enacts taxes on imported goods, even
as the company prepares to hire up to 4,000 workers for a new
plant in South Carolina, the head of its North American
Volvo, a Swedish brand owned by China's Geely Automobile
Holdings Ltd, is concerned about trade
restrictions such as the border adjustment tax proposed by U.S.
President Donald Trump and some of his fellow Republicans in
"It's very bad business for us unless we transfer all that
extra money towards the list price," Volvo North America Chief
Executive Officer Lex Kerssemakers told reporters at a Saturday
briefing in Charleston, South Carolina. "The customer is the
loser, or we are the loser. Everybody's the loser."
Volvo plans to open its $500 million South Carolina factory
in late 2018. The plant, the only one in the automaker’s
worldwide network to build the S60 sedan, will employ 2,000
workers initially and 4,000 eventually.
The company also plans to carry out the final assembly of a
second, still-unspecified vehicle at the plant.
Volvo decided in 2014 to locate its first North American
factory in the United States, its largest market except for
China, instead of in Mexico, Kerssemakers said.
Volvo is joining a long roster of Asian and European auto
assemblers and parts makers investing in factories in the
southern United States. Plants there and in Mexico have
contributed to the decline in auto jobs in Midwest states such
as Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Wisconsin that were pivotal in
Trump’s campaign for the White House.
Trump has put pressure on automakers to create more jobs in
the United States and warned that new taxes could apply to
vehicles imported from Mexico.
Even after its South Carolina plant is running, Volvo still
will import many of its models for the U.S. market.
"This is the only place in the world where we are going to
build S60," Kerssemakers said. "People are moving to SUVs, but
the sedan market is still the third- or fourth-biggest segment
in the United States." Economic impact in South Carolina is
expected to be about $4.8 billion.
Five retention ponds surrounding the plant are expected to
attract alligators that live in nearby swamps, said Katarina
Fjording, Volvo's manufacturing vice president for the Americas.
(Editing by Joe White and Lisa Von Ahn)