Volvo suddenly shifts EX30, EX90 production to Belgium to avoid China-made EV tariffs

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Volvo is reportedly shifting EV production to Belgium ahead of schedule. Production of the new Volvo EX30 and EX90 is moving to Belgium to avoid expected tariffs on electric vehicles made in China.

Volvo accelerates EX30, EX90 EV production in Belgium

Although Volvo wasn’t expected to begin building its new EVs in the EU until 2025, it looks like the move could be happening ahead of schedule.

According to a new report from The Times, Volvo has already started moving production amid expected incoming tariffs on EVs imported from China.

Volvo announced it planned to build its new low-cost EX30 at its Ghent plant in Belgium last October. However, the shift was expected “from 2025,” as Volvo’s press release stated.

In addition to the EX30 and EX90, Volvo may move assembly of some models going to the UK, The Times report stated, citing anonomyous sources. The report also claims Volvo is one of the most exposed automakers to tariffs on China-made EV tariffs.

With EV imports from Chinese automakers like BYD and MG surging, the EU claims unfair government subsidies are promoting the growth.

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Volvo CEO Jim Rowan during the EX30 launch (Source: Volvo Cars)

New tariffs on EVs made in China expected

The EU launched an investigation into Chinese EV subsidies as “global markets are now flooded with cheaper electric cars,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in October.

With trade tensions heating up, the EU is expected to reveal if new tariffs on EV imports from China will be imposed as early as this week. The new tariffs would go into effect July 4, bumping them above the current 10%.

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Volvo EX90 (Source: Volvo)

Meanwhile, Volvo denied the report, saying, “It’s premature to speculate on the implications of what this investigation will conclude, or any potential measures.”

A Volvo spokesperson clarified in an email: “The decision to also build the EX30 in Ghent reflects our ambition to build our cars where we sell them as much as possible.”

Volvo was already planning to move EX30 production to its Belgium plant as demand for the low-cost compact electric SUV climbed. Despite its small size, the EX30 is already a “profitable growth driver” for Volvo.

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Volvo EX30 launch event (Source: Volvo Cars)

After launching production in China late last year, Volvo sold 14,500 EX30s in the first quarter of 2024. That’s more than the EC40 (6,000) while nearly topping the EX40 (17,400).

The momentum has continued, with the EX30 quickly becoming “one of the best-selling fully electric cars in Europe” through May, according to Björn Annwall, chief commercial officer and deputy CEO at Volvo Cars.

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Volvo EX90 production kicks off in South Carolina (Source: Volvo Cars)

Volvo has sold 72,325 electric cars through the first five months of the year, up 45% from the 49,725 handed over at this time last year. Of them, nearly 57,400 were sold in Europe, up 68% year-over-year.

In other news, Volvo’s first EX90 electric SUV rolled off the assembly line in South Carolina last week.

Electrek’s Take

Although it’s not confirmed (Volvo said it’s too early to speculate), with nearly three-quarters of Volvo’s fully electric vehicles sold YTD being in Europe, moving EX30 and EX90 production to Belgium makes sense either way.

With demand building for low-cost EVs, like the EX30, having local production would speed up deliveries and cut costs. Volvo is already planning to do so, but with EX30 sales surging, starting production ahead of schedule wouldn’t be a shock.

After Volvo was one of the first legacy automakers to commit to an all-electric future, it’s already seeing the results.

Volvo’s fully electric cars accounted for 25% of all vehicles sold last month. The EX30 and EX90, built in Belgium, should help Volvo get EVs into customer hands quicker.

Source: Bloomberg, The Times

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