Volvo Trucks North America Inc has announced that it 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 production 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 have 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 increased. Dealers quoted considerably more business in the first three months of 2002 versus 2001.
There is much speculation about "pre-buy" activity. Although order intake for the first quarter of 2002 is higher than it has been since 1999, it is difficult to say with any certainty what the remaining quarters will offer. The fact is that there are a finite number of production line slots available between today and October 1, 2002, when new the EPA02 emissions regulations take effect. If the order activity maintains the current pace, it will become increasingly difficult to meet demand. Due to other projects ramping up at the New River Valley plant, Volvo expects the workers being reactivated to support the rate increase will remain active even if demand should subside somewhat after October 1.