Stockholm: Volvo Cars, owned by China’s Geely, said on Tuesday it planned to hire 1,200 new employees and expand capacity at its factories in Europe as it banks on strong global demand.
Volvo chief executive Stefan Jacoby said the automaker expected to sell “significantly more cars in 2011” compared with 2010 following a deep downturn that hurt carmakers around the world.
The company needs to recruit mainly engineers in Sweden and will also hire staff in Belgium.
“We are investing in our future,” Jacoby said. “It means that we have to work hard to continue to be cost competitive ... our cars are selling very well globally.”
Jacoby said Volvo was also investing to boost capacity at its plants in Europe as it had seen good demand in the United States, Europe and also China, with especially strong demand for its XC60 sport utility vehicle.
Demand in Japan also remained surprisingly strong, he said.
The carmaker is also aiming to have more flexibility on its production lines.
“These days it is very difficult to do a proper forecast of the market,” he said, adding that it is important that the company’s plants could adjust quickly to the needs of the market.
He said demand was still volatile following the global recession.
The carmaker has said it plans to invest up to $11 billion in new product development and facilities over the next 5 years. It is awaiting regulatory approval for its first China plant.
Geely, parent of Geely Automobile Holdings, took over Ford Motor’s Volvo car unit in August 2010, in China’s largest acquisition of a foreign carmaker.
The Swedish auto maker hopes to be selling up to 200,000 vehicles annually in China by 2015, from a little over 30,000 units in 2010, and has set a goal of capturing 20% of the country’s premium auto sector.