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Lifetime Achievement Trophy for Volvo Cars
On 24 February, Swedish company Volvo Cars, owned by Chinese Zhejiang Geely Holding Group since 2010, was announced winner of the third Lifetime Achievement Trophy. The Lifetime Achievement Trophy event is designed by Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) to reward foreign investors for their ongoing commitment to the Flanders region.
At the same time, the Investment of the Year Trophy was awarded to a recent foreign investment project. The three nominees for this award were Datwyler, Pfizer and Nippon Shokubai.
Golden jubilee in Flanders
Fifty years ago, on June 28th, 1965, the first car manufactured in Flanders rolled off the production line at the Volvo plant in Ghent. In that year, Volvo manufactured 5,551 cars in Flanders, and in 2015, they manufactured 252,479. In February 2015, car number 5,555,555 left the production facility. Volvo Car Ghent currently employs more than 5,000 people (4,500 manual laborers and 500 office workers) for the production of 3 models.
The future of the production plant is also secured. In June 2015, Volvo Cars announced that over the next three years, they will be investing EUR 200 million in a new modular platform for the assembly of a number of smaller models. The investment will ensure future operations at the site until 2024-2025.
The Lifetime Achievement Trophy is awarded by the Government of Flanders to highlight the importance of foreign companies in our region. I wish to congratulate Volvo Cars wholeheartedly on this achievement. In September 2015, Volvo Cars celebrated 50 years of their presence in Flanders: a celebration that marks the company’s strong ties with this region. At the event, I had the pleasure of meeting Håkan Samuelsson, leading executive at Volvo, and discussing with him their planned investments in Volvo Car Ghent, as well as the new Volvo models that will be manufactured at this facility. Previously, I had the pleasure of meeting Li Shufu, top executive of Geely and owner of Volvo Cars, in Beijing. He made it very clear that Volvo Car Ghent is a key catalyst in the operations of the Swedish group. He also pointed at the group’s plans for the production site in Ghent. Through ongoing investments in the transformation and optimization of the site, Volvo Cars is sending out a clear signal that Flanders continues to play a key role in the group’s strategy. Volvo Cars has helped put this region on the international map.
Geert Bourgeois, Minister-President of Flanders
Congratulations to Volvo Cars for winning the Lifetime Achievement Trophy. Foreign investments certainly help drive the economy in Flanders. Volvo Cars is living proof that Flanders – and the automotive sector in particular – still has a strong hand when it comes to attracting foreign investment through its knowledge-driven economy and its prime geographic location.
Claire Tillekaerts, CEO Flanders Investment & Trade
Volvo Car Ghent has been part of the socio-economic landscape in Flanders for over fifty years. And despite the fact that today’s economic climate differs greatly from that of 1965, our manufacturing plant in Ghent continues to be a stronghold of Volvo Car Group. People in Flanders are hard workers with a can-do attitude. These qualities are in perfect alignment with the core values of our Swedish parent company: a strong focus on quality and environmental sustainability, a forward-thinking approach toward mobility, and putting people at the center of everything we do. We are honored to be awarded the Lifetime Achievement Trophy – it is a token of recognition and appreciation for the work of our 5,000 employees today, and the many thousands who worked for us over the past fifty years.
Eric Van Landeghem, Managing Director at Volvo Car Ghent