The new 2019 Volvo S60 is a significant car for a couple of reasons.
First, it continues a much-needed product revision for the Swedish car company. After successfully launching a variety of SUVs in recent years, this new model is a sporty sedan, keeping the same styling theme as the other Volvos.
"This is the most dynamic car we have. Right proportions, with the wheels at the corners, and short overhangs. It's amazing," said Patrik Widerstand of Volvo.
But even more importantly, the S60 marks the beginning of Volvo building cars in the U.S. at a new state-of-the-art facility in Charleston, South Carolina. Every Volvo S60 in showrooms around the country will come from that factory.
"It is important to have factories in all different regions. Being here in the U.S. now is great, with a new factory, new people, and new suppliers. It is a challenge, but we are rolling now, and we are in production," Widerstand said.
With the new $2-billion assembly plant, Volvo joins fellow European auto makers Mercedes-Benz and BMW in building vehicles on U.S. soil. Eventually, the Volvo factory will produce additional models, and employ upward of 4,000 people.
And the S60 has a Southern California connection - the exterior design was done at Volvo's styling studio in Camarillo.
In addition to conventional gasoline engines, the S60 is being launched right off the bat with an optional plug-in hybrid system. The Polestar version of the car doesn't really look much different than the regular S60, but it offers plug-in power for up to 21 miles with varying modes for the gas-electric hybrid system.
Like most every automaker, Volvo is looking to electric power to meet future consumption and carbon emission goals.
"We will have full electric, we will have plug-in hybrid, and we'll have the mild hybrid. So all our new cars will be electrified in one or another way," Widerstand said.
This new Volvo is a world car in the truest sense. It's from a Swedish company that has ownership via China, was designed in the Golden State, and is built in the Palmetto State.
New S60 sedan debuts as Volvo's first US-built model