China's first-ever car export to the United States is going to be a Chinese-made Volvo, the company announced.
Hakan Samuelson, president and chief executive officer of the Volvo Car Group, said Monday that the company will begin shipping a new S60 model produced in China to the US market in mid-year.
The move will be a landmark for Volvo, which was bought by China's Geely Holding auto group in 2010.
The S60 will be built at a brand new factory in Chengdu that was developed to help launch the Volvo brand in the Chinese market.
Samuelson said the factory where the S60 is being built uses the very latest technology and operates on the strict standards laid down by Volvo.
"It's built like a Volvo in every way. You can't tell the difference between a Volvo built in China and Volvo built in Gothenborg (Sweden) or Ghent (Belgium)," Samuelson said.
Sales personnel in Volvo's dealerships around the US will be coached to make the same point, he said, given the potential scepticism that could greet a made-in-China vehicle.
However, the long-wheel base S60 will not be exported to Europe from China because of regulations and tariffs, he said.
Samuelson told AFP that Volvo is in the midst of overhauling its product line in the United States. Volvo's US sales dropped 8 percent to just over 56,000 units last year, according to AutoData.