The news might not have made big headlines in most countries, but for Volvo and manufacturing boss Magnus Hellsten, it was just the kind of affirmation of direction needed for the iconic brand.
Late last year, Hellsten announced that the company's plant in Sweden was
boosting output by nearly 10 percent as a way to cope with the increase in demand
for its top-end models.
Volvo Car Corp. "is heading in the right direction," Hellsten said then.
Volvo is positioned well, and it has Hellsten to thank for the progress.
The new S60 is a hot seller and the carmaker's overall quality is on the rise.
In June, Volvo was tops in the J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study in Germany, rising from seventh last year to overtake last year's No. 1, Mercedes-Benz.
The automaker has ambitious plans for growth now that it is under the direction of new owner Zhejiang Geely Holding Group. Since the purchase of Volvo from Ford Motor Co., the Chinese company has said that it will open a plant in Chengdu, China, and continue to study whether to add a factory in Daqing. A third China plant could become a reality.
If the plan pushes through, Zhejiang Geely will achieve a combined capacity to build 300,000 Volvos annually in China.
With the ambitious plans coming, Hellsten will have a role in the expansion.
After starting his Volvo career on the assembly line in 1980, Hellsten has risen to become director of all production. His experience includes manufacturing engineering and quality.