OTTAWA - Swedish carmaker Volvo Cars (IW 1000/106) announced plans Monday to build its first factory in the United States, 60 years after it started selling cars in the country.
It will be Chinese-owned Volvo's fifth factory, and comes in the wake of a two-year turnaround of the Swedish brand's fortunes since it was sold by Ford in 2010.
"Volvo Cars cannot claim to be a true global car maker without an industrial presence in the U.S.. Today, we became that," chief executive Haakan Samuelsson said in a statement.
The manufacturer said it has not decided on the location of the new plant, but said it would invest about $500 million on the project, "underscoring its long term commitment to the U.S. market."
The new factory will join existing plants in Sweden, Belgium, China and Malaysia.
Despite its presence in the U.S. since 1955, Volvo is a small player in the country. Last year its U.S. sales fell by 8% to 58,000 units -- representing a mere 0.4% of the market.
Following its sale to China's Geely five years ago, Volvo struggled to return to profits.
It recovered last year, however, selling 465,866 cars worldwide -- breaking a previous sales record from 2007 -- on the back of soaring sales in China, and strong activity in Europe.
The company appointed a new chief executive for North America in January, tasked with boosting sales to "over 100,000 cars in the medium term."
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015