The three-year project is expected to increase the production of commercial trucks by 66% to 50,000 units a year. The project will make this plant Volvo's largest heavy-truck plant in the world.
Virginia Gov. James S. Gilmore III joined Volvo Trucks President/CEO Marc Gustafson in the traditional turning of the first shovels of soil.
Gov. Gilmore also signed legislation creating the Virginia Investment Partnership. The program was conceived during a meeting between the governor and Gustafson last summer. The goal of VIP is to help Virginia-based manufacturers expand operations and modernize facilities through economic grants and tax credits or incentives. Volvo is one of the first companies to participate in VIP.
The $148-million expansion project will see the construction of new facilities and infrastructure, as well as improvements to the plant's four existing buildings. It will also include the installation of additional robotic systems and state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly manufacturing equipment.
In addition, the expansion will include the construction of a "Center of Excellence," a joint effort between Volvo and the New River Valley Community College. The Center will provide employment training programs for area residents, including those employed by Volvo.
In January, plant production and salaried employees both ratified new six-year contracts, the longest agreements of their kind in the heavy-truck industry.