Surprisingly, Volvo is about to become the first company to sell a mass-produced Chinese-built passenger car in the United States.
Speaking with news agency Reuters, an anonymous senior Volvo executive admitted the automaker will start exporting a long-wheelbase version of the S60 sedan from China to the United States next year. The stretched sedan will also be added to the Swedish automaker’s catalog in a host of countries around the globe including Russia and select Latin American nations. All told, Volvo hopes to sell 10,000 examples of the S60L outside of China each year.
Volvo has not commented on how it expects U.S. buyers to react to a Chinese-built car. The automaker’s executives have simply pointed out that shipping cars from China makes a lot of sense from a business point of view.
“The dollar and the yuan have the best relationship, a more stable relationship than the euro and the dollar,” explained an executive.
In China, the S60L is 3.1 inches longer than its stock counterpart. The added sheet metal clears up a noticeable amount of extra space for the rear passengers, and Volvo fits the sedan with upmarket equipment like heated rear seats, power sunshades and a power passenger seat that can be adjusted by the rear passengers.
Stretched compact luxury sedans are growing in popularity in China, and the S60L squares off against similarly-lengthened variants of the BMW 3-Series, the Audi A4 and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. At the time of writing the aforementioned automakers have not expressed an interest in following the S60L’s foray into the U.S. market.
Volvo is expected to publish additional information about the U.S.-spec version of the S60L in the coming months. The automaker has not revealed when the sedan will go on sale or how much of a premium it will command over a stock S60.