CHINA: Volvo investment show commitment to emerging markets
Volvo CE’s new purpose-built research and development facility at Jinan, in China’s eastern province of Shangdong, underlines the company’s long-term commitment to the Chinese construction industry. The firm’s SEK270 million (US$41.8m/€30.3m) investment in the 50,000m2 Jinan Technology Center is the focal point of Volvo’s push to develop products and components for customers in the emerging markets that make up more than half of Volvo CE’s global business. Of these markets, China is the biggest and is considered the most important.
The Jinan Center will enable Volvo CE to provide machines tailored specifically to the needs of this new market and deliver them to customers faster than before – a big advantage in today’s highly competitive global marketplace.
“At Volvo, we know that it is vital to have a design and manufacturing presence in the countries where our machines are used. It gives us a greater understanding of our customers and their needs while also allowing us to benefit from local engineering talent,” explains Mats Sköldberg, President of Volvo CE Technology, China. “Jinan Technology Center is not only crucial to the success of Volvo CE in China but also to the rest of our global marketplace.”
Located 350km from Beijing, Jinan is an area of engineering and design expertise. The several large universities and technical colleges located in the city represent a valuable source of engineering talent for Volvo CE. The Jinan Technology Center itself boasts a test track, design offices and two testing buildings with component and prototype assembly workshops as well as areas for testing equipment structure and performance.
Even before work on the Jinan Center was finished, engineers at a temporary location had already achieved positive results with the successful development of the L105 wheel loader – the first Volvo branded machine to be produced specifically for emerging markets. The machine was developed in 25 months and launched at the end of 2012.
There is broad scope at the Center in terms of product development and future projects, including excavators, wheel loaders and road and utility products – all specifically designed for emerging markets. The Jinan engineers also design and develop the latest versions of existing Volvo machines for these markets.
“Opening a technical center in China plays an important role in Volvo CE achieving its growth ambitions,” explains Anders P. Larsson, Executive Vice President of Volvo CE’s technology function. “The Jinan Technology Center will help us to expand and develop the product portfolio of Volvo CE globally.
Volvo CE currently has more than 160 employees working at the Center. They are part of a much wider team, having joined a network of hundreds of engineers – working on Volvo’s 11 sites in different parts of the world – who are busy developing new machines and future technology to make Volvo’s construction equipment as fuel efficient, productive and safe as possible.
The Jinan Technology Center is now one of Volvo’s largest research and development facilities and employee numbers are set to grow – the site can accommodate up to 450 staff. The Center is also a vital part of the company’s plan to have a global footprint of engineering and design sites.