You are here

Volvo Cars moves e-car production into top gear in Flanders

Both Volvo Cars’ first and second fully electric vehicles are produced in Flanders. According to Volvo Car Gent CEO Stefan Fesser, the region offers a unique combination of assets that convinced the Swedish car manufacturer to channel EUR 150 million into upgrading its existing site at North Sea Port Ghent in Flanders. The goal? To turn Volvo Car Gent into a fully electrified production site. 

Trailblazer in Flanders and worldwide

“Volvo Cars was the first big premium-car manufacturer to go fully electric,” says Stefan Fesser, CEO of Volvo Car Gent. “We announced the start of our journey back in 2018. Other brands were still dedicating their attention to internal combustion when we shifted gears to electrification with Ghent as our pioneer plant.”

“It made sense to start off in Ghent, as this is where we produce our smaller ranges – and those were first on the list for electrification,” Stefan Fesser continues. “So, we invested heavily to revamp our Ghent-based site and move from an internal combustion build site to a fully electrified plant. That’s how both the first and second fully electric Volvo cars came to be manufactured in Flanders.” 

Our Ghent site serves as a pioneer within the group, sharing learnings with the other plants as we move forward.

Stefan Fesser
CEO of Volvo Car Gent

Fueled by talent and location

So why did Volvo Cars choose Flanders for its electrification experiment? “Simple: we have extremely skilled people here, and the site has a long tradition of expertise,” Stefan Fesser explains. “Business success always starts with having the right people on board: employees who are motivated, eager to upskill and tackle the transformation – from engineers to blue collars.”

The strategic location of Flanders was also a major bonus according to the CEO: 

Flanders offers great logistics infrastructure, with easy access to major ports, railways and roads. Since it’s so easy to ship finished products from here and bring in the required resources, investing in our Ghent plant made a lot of sense.

Stefan Fesser
CEO of Volvo Car Gent

Rewarding partnerships

But it doesn’t end there. “Flanders also offers us the possibility to set up innovative and rewarding partnerships,” adds Stefan Fesser. “To pioneer new technologies and applications, you need strong partners by your side. You can’t do it alone. Ghent University, for example, is one of our long-standing partners for internships, product development and engineering. But we also work closely with other institutions: incubators, research centers and even the city of Ghent.”

“And of course,” the CEO continues, “there’s our close collaboration with North Sea Port Ghent as well: it’s not just a port, it’s also a business hub and a platform for partnerships – especially for developing sustainable alternatives together.” 

Electrification at full throttle

Volvo Cars has come a long way on its electrification journey, but the Swedish car manufacturer still has big ambitions for the future

We want to continue our leading role in electrification, both as one of the first plants to be fully electric and as a pre-existing site that has been transformed. Our goal on a group level is to be fully electrified by 2030 and climate neutral by the end of 2025, both in production and for our customers.

Stefan Fesser
CEO of Volvo Car Gent

“Our goals will require us to continue Ghent’s leading role within this electrification journey,” Stefan Fesser concludes. “And that requires an equally ambitious and bigger team: that’s why we’re hiring another 500 employees in Flanders, mainly operators, supervisors and technicians. Exciting times ahead, that’s for sure!”

For over 50 years, Volvo Cars has been a fixture in Flanders’ business environment. By continuing to invest in its Ghent site, the Swedish company is safeguarding its future, both in terms of electrification and climate neutrality. The know-how, knowledge and experience it has been building up here for years are priceless.

Lothe Verstraete
Deputy Director Inward Investment Greater China & Korea at FIT

“Volvo Cars’ continuous investments in Ghent only add further proof to the fact that the automotive industry has a sustainable future in Flanders,” says Lothe Verstraete, Deputy Director Inward Investment Greater China & Korea at FIT. “In partnership with Flanders’ universities and strategic research centers such as Flanders Make, the company is creating an ideal framework for continuous and pioneering innovation in the sector.”

More info

Volvo Cars
Reported by
Flanders Investment & Trade
13 September 2022

More news about Flanders?

  • Regular updates
  • No spam

Interested in doing business in Flanders?

Let us help you!

  • We can introduce you to other companies, banks and regulators
  • We organize site visits to real estate locations
  • We assist with all legal aspects of setting up a business
  • We're an official government agency
  • Our services are completely free
  • We are a team of international experts

Receive our handbook to growing your business in Flanders

  • It's completely free.
  • Get an overview of all incentives relevant to your company.
  • Tax system explained in-depth.
  • Learn how to set up your business quickly.
  • Discover the benefits of Flanders (in addition to the chocolate).

In addition to the ebook, I agree to receive one or two follow-up emails