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Volvo to build Volvo Car University in S.C.

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Volvo Car USA plans to build Volvo Car University at its Berkeley County automotive campus later this year.

The university will operate as a training ground for Volvo’s dealership group and technical teams; dealership employees can undergo a training program there to develop and build expertise in S.C.-made Volvos, spokeswoman Stephanie Mangini said. The university will focus on workforce training and leadership development for the Americas region, the company said in a news release.

Volvo’s desire for bigger sales in the United States drove the decision to build a plant in South Carolina, and company executives have said dealerships are a big part of securing more of the North American market.

Anders Gustafsson, president and CEO of Volvo Car USA, called the planned center “the next stage in our development.”

“Volvo Cars has invested heavily in product, technology and manufacturing, and our retailer partners are investing heavily in new facilities. ... I see this as an investment in people and will become a place where our teams will develop new skills and grow with our collective business,” Gustafsson said in the release.

The university will occupy a floor of Volvo’s 90,000-square-foot office building, which will also house the automaker’s research and development, quality control and sales teams. The university is separate from Volvo’s on-site training center, where readySC teaches Volvo’s production workforce to assemble vehicles.

Katarina Fjording, previously the company’s vice president of purchasing and manufacturing and who led the development of Volvo Cars’ manufacturing site in Berkeley County, was named the director of Volvo Car University. Fjording will help lead the buildout of the university.

“I would like to thank Katarina for the endless work she has done in successfully establishing Volvo’s first industrial operations in America and creating the Volvo Car Charleston Plant,” Gustafsson said in the release.

The Volvo site was built on about 1,600 acres of the Camp Hall tract, near rural Ridgeville off Interstate 26 at exit 187.

By 2021, the Lowcountry campus is expected to employ at least 4,000 people and produce two vehicles — the S60 sedan by the end of the year, and the XC90 in 2021. S60 production began in June.

Reach Liz Segrist at 843-849-3119.

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