Volvo Trucks North America Inc will increase production at the New River Valley assembly plant in southwestern Virginia. The increase from 50 to 60 units per day is in response to current market trends and dealer demand for new vehicles. With the increase, Volvo will reactivate more than 140 employees.
“It is too soon to be overly optimistic about the industry recovering,” said Bill Dawson, senior vice-president of sales for Volvo Trucks North America. “However, current market drivers and dealers' need for inventory has sparked a flurry of first-quarter orders.”
Some of the factors contributing to the improved order activity are a diminishing supply of quality pre-owned vehicles, low dealer inventory, and early fleet purchases of replacement vehicles, according to Dawson.
As Volvo dealer inventory continues to dwindle, the need to order stock trucks has risen. Dealers quoted considerably more business in the first three months of 2002 versus 2001.
Speculation has surfaced about “pre-buy” activity. Although order intake for first-quarter 2002 is higher than anytime since 1999, what remaining quarters will offer remains uncertain.
A finite number of production line slots are available between now and Oct 1, 2002, when new EPA02 emissions regulations take effect. If order activity maintains the current pace, it will become more difficult to meet demand.
Due to other projects ramping up at the New River Valley plant, Volvo expects workers being reactivated will remain active even if demand should subside somewhat after October 1.