Volvo Car Gent rallied to production record last year

Volvo Car Gent celebrates a stellar year as it nailed a total production of 230 527 cars in 2023, marking a significant 19,4% increase from the previous year’s output of 192 991 vehicles. It’s the first time in four years that the factory has surpassed the figure of 200 000 cars per year. In 2024, the factory welcomes its second model, the EX30.

Last year proved to be a stable one for Volvo Car Gent. The factory managed to address the semiconductor shortage that impacted production in 2021 and 2022 successfully and restored material availability. This boosted output, reaching a level not witnessed for years.

Focus on electrification

The past year also showed Volvo Car Gent’s growing commitment to electrification. Over 53% of the total production comprised fully electric and hybrid cars. Production of the XC40 Recharge (fully electric and hybrid) surged to 88 137 units, constituting over 38% of the total production. Additionally, of the C40 Recharge, 35 306 units rolled off the assembly line, contributing 15% to the overall production.

With the EX30, originally planned to be built exclusively in China, Volvo Car Gent is adding a second model to the line-up. Adding the extra model protects the output from the factory against market fluctuations. It represents a pat on the back compared to the Audi factory in Vorst, where the Volkswagen Group decided to temporarily delay the arrival of the Q4 based on weakening demand for EVs.

Technical challenges

However, the EX30 also brings technical challenges to the factory. As the model sits on a bespoke platform, it needs its own infrastructure and tooling. In Belgium, Volvo has already received 3 000 orders for the small and more affordable EV, and the badge plays a crucial role in Volvo’s ambition to sell 1,2 million cars by 2026, or double the number it shifted last year. The EX30 represents 20% of its sales mix.

The EX30 also solidifies the role of the plant in Ghent within Volvo’s manufacturing constellation. To meet its ambitions, Volvo is building a site in Slovakia, which should be operational in 2026.

Its CEO, Jim Rowan, is also considering a second factory in the US to comply with the protectionist ruling of Biden’s Inflatory Reduction Act, which favors locally produced EVs. Since 2017, Volvo has been building cars in South Carolina, both the S60 and the all-new EX90.

The United States is the most important export market for Volvo Car Gent (15,5%), followed by the United Kingdom (14,9%), Sweden (9%), Germany (8,8%), and Belgium (6,8%). The XC40 is one of the top sellers among company cars in our country.

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