Late last year, Volvo announced its plans to bring in a host of electrified and electric vehicles to India. Beginning 2019, the range would include four plug-in hybrids, all of which would be assembled at its plant in India. The Swedish company is now looking at adding its first and yet to be officially revealed all-electric car to that list – the electric version of the XC40.
Speaking to Autocar India at the inauguration of its new showroom in South Mumbai, Charles Frump, managing director, Volvo Auto India, said that with the announcement of the reduction in import duties from 15-30 percent to 10-15 percent for electric vehicle components, assembling an electric car in India presents a very interesting case. "As soon as this announcement came out, I got on the phone with Sweden, because this is big news for us. If we assemble BEVs or Battery Electric Vehicles in India, there is significant savings using the CKD model," said Frump.
Volvo recently started a CKD operation in Bengaluru, but the line is geared up to produce its bigger SPA-platform cars like the XC90, XC60 and S90. The XC40, which will be the first electric car, is made on the smaller CMA platform that Volvo shares with part-owner Geely and will need a new line or alterations to the current one to do the same.
This is something the company is already planning on doing, so once Volvo showcases the electric version of the XC40 globally, in the not too distant future, expect Volvo to announce its assembly of the car here as well. It's the company's stated objective, and because many of the electric components will come from China, it could prove to be very cost effective too. The question is, will Volvo be the first luxury car brand to assemble an electric here, or will Mercedes beat them to it with the EQC that can be built on the already-in-running GLC line?