Volvo has announced that its car production plant in the port city of Gent in Belgium built its four-millionth car this week. The Gent unit reached the production milestone when a Volvo V50, a sporty R Design version, was ordered by a customer from Breda in Netherlands.
Volvo Cars Gent has been building cars in Belgium since 1965. Initially the plant was set up to avoid the country's high import taxes on finished cars, but over the years Volvo Cars Gent has, together with Volvo Cars Torslanda, become one of the two main Volvo Cars factories.
The first model assembled in Ghent was the Volvo 120, better known as the Amazon. Other models such as the Volvo 140 and 240 -series, the Volvo 740 and 940, the Volvo 850, the Volvo S70 and V70, soon followed. Presently the plant also manufactures the Volvo C30, S40, V50 and S60 models.
Volvo Cars Gent has more than 4,000 employees who built about 200,000 cars in 2007. The company achieved the milestone of one million cars in Ghent in 1988, and it was not until 1997 that the two million mark was passed. In 2004, three million cars rolled out of Ghent, which then achieved a production capacity of to build 250,000 cars a year.
The 4 millionth car was handed over to the client VDL, parent company of Steelweld, one of Volvo Cars Gent's main suppliers of production installations for the Volvo XC60.
In a few weeks Volvo will start assembly of the XC60 in Ghent. With this new crossover model, Volvo Cars will mark its entry into a new and growing segment.