Report: Volvo talked to South Carolina about new car plant

Volvo displayed its S60 Cross Country at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this month.

South Carolina is among several Southeast states that Volvo has approached about building a automobile manufacturing plant, according to a news report this week.

Citing unidentified people claiming knowledge of the company’s plans, the Financial Times said Wednesday that the Swedish carmaker has met with legislative officials in South Carolina, North Carolina and Kentucky.

The discussions centered on financial incentives that would be available if Volvo builds a factory, the British newspaper reported.

This week, Volvo shook up its U.S.-based management and named Lex Kerssemakers as chief of Volvo Cars of North America in New Jersey. One of his top priorities will be to turn around the automaker’s declining U.S. sales.

Reuters news service said earlier this month that the company was considering a U.S. factory, where European rivals BMW AG and Mercedes-Benz already have production sites — in South Carolina and Alabama, respectively. That report did not specify what part of the country Volvo was looking at.

The automaker already has operations in North Carolina. Its Volvo Trucks North American corporate headquarters is in Greensboro.

The brand is owned by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., which bought the company from Ford about five years ago. The S.C. Commerce Department said in a written statement Thursday that it “does not publicly discuss its economic development recruitment efforts.”

David Wren of The Post and Courier contributed to this report. Contact John McDermott at 937-5572.