Volvo CE US$100 million Americas expansion

Volvo Construction Equipment president Pal Olney stressed the long-term importance to the company of the North American market while formally recognising the industry giant’s US$100 million expansion programme at its Shippensburg, Pennsylvania facility. Olney cut the ribbon to officially open Volvo CE’s new Americas’ headquarters building. The event also saw the unveiling of the first wheeled loader to roll off the Shippensburg site’s cutting edge assembly line. On the significance of the two big landmarks,
March 22, 2013
Volvo CE’s new Americas’ headquarters building
Volvo CE’s new Americas’ headquarters building
Volvo Construction Equipment president Pal Olney stressed the long-term importance to the company of the North American market while formally recognising the industry giant’s US$100 million expansion programme at its Shippensburg, Pennsylvania facility.

Olney was joined by US Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez; and Swedish Ambassador to the United States Jonas Hafström in cutting the ribbon to officially open 359 Volvo CE’s new Americas’ headquarters building. The event also saw the unveiling of the first wheeled loader to roll off the Shippensburg site’s cutting edge assembly line.

On the significance of the two big landmarks, Olney said: “This should serve as a very clear signal that Volvo CE is committed to this [North American] market and in a better position than ever before to offer our customers products that are made by Americans, for Americans.

“Longer term, building machines closer to our customers will have a positive impact for US-based suppliers, who will gain more business; for customers, who will enjoy shorter lead times; and for Volvo CE, which will be less exposed to currency swings.”

Speaking to North American and international journalists at a press conference at Shippensburg HQ prior to the ribbon cutting and wheeled loader unveiling, Olney said that the combined North and South America market will continue to be second biggest in the world for Volvo CE. However, he forecasted a flat North American market in 2013, with development of around +5/-5%.

Focusing on new product lines, Olney said Volvo CE’s new 7000 Series Paver, unveiled at the recent 6069 World of Asphalt event in San Antonio, Texas, was a “huge step forward” in paving.
“It has 100 plus features compared to previous generations. It’s Tier 4 certified but with Volvo power for the first time. It offers much lower noise, better visibility, better comfort, a new control system. There’s a huge list of advantages to this product. We think it’s going to be extremely welcome in the industry. We’re quite excited about it,” said Olney.

Initial wheeled loader manufacturing at Shippensburg is focusing on the L60-L90 model range. “These machines are in high demand in North America. It’s easier to start up production of smaller machines and work our way up,” said Sean Glennon, vice president of operations at the Shippensburg facility. “The investment we make in these smaller models will allow us to eventually launch into the bigger machines and meet a wider scope of customer needs.”

As part of the same investment at Shippensburg, Volvo CE will also open a world-class customer centre in the area in the first quarter of 2014.

The new Americas headquarters serves both the North and Latin American Volvo CE business. The site’s global technology centre employs around 200 people and provides development expertise to the wider Volvo business.

The Shippensburg facility has been committed to producing high end construction equipment for nearly 40 years. Volvo CE acquired the business from 3773 Ingersoll Rand in April 2007. A previous $30 million, 18,580m² site expansion was completed in June 2010 and included a new assembly hall and materials building. The office expansion, which opened in March, adds an additional 3,344m² and two smaller production buildings, due to open in April this year, will provide a further 3,437m², bringing the total size of the expanded facility to 60,387m².

Currently, the site employs more than 1,000 employees from nearly 20 countries, working in operations, technology, sales & marketing, and customer support.

As well as wheeled loaders, the Shippensburg facility also makes more than 50 road machinery models, including soil and asphalt compactors, motor graders, pavers, screeds, and milling machines. Operations include welding, large machining, paint and assembly.    

Speaking prior to the ribbon cutting ceremony, Mendez said: “Under President Obama we’ve had an incredible focus on the economy, and this is the kind of investment we’re really looking to deploy throughout the entire nation to get American workers back to work. We’ve also got a big focus on reinvesting in our infrastructure, especially our roads and bridges, and this [Volvo CE wheeled loaders] is the kind of equipment we need out there.”

Also joining Olney, Mendez and Hafström at the Shippensburg inauguration ceremony on Thursday 21 March were Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Alan Walker and 1,000 Volvo CE Shippensburg employees.
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