The first made-in-China Volvo S90 sedans have arrived in Europe via a new rail link joining China to Europe - but Europe won't be the only region to take Volvo cars from Chinese production.
For now, all Australian-delivered Volvo cars are built in Sweden, but the opening of three plants in China - which will also build the company's new-generation 60- and 40-series cars - will soon see at least the S90 come to Australia from China. The company has yet to confirm, however, if all Australian models will, from some point in the future, be built in China.
Speaking with CarAdvice this week, Volvo Cars Australia communications manager Greg Bosnich said it is "inevitable" that S90 models sold in Australia would eventually be sourced from China, although timing has yet to be finalised.
He stressed that all Volvo production facilities, regardless of location, use the company's global manufacturing system, and meet Volvo's internal quality standards.
Volvo would not be the first premium brand (although it is more of a challenger brand in the premium market) to send cars to Australia from factories outside its country of origin, although it will be the first to do some from China.
Depending on the brand, the German establishment of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz ship to Australia from countries that include Germany itself, but also Belgium, Spain, Hungary and Slovakia, South Africa, the United States of America and, soon, Mexico.
As for the new Europe-China rail link, the company claims its overland shipping program will cut customer wait times and reduce transport-related CO2 emissions by a third.
Last year, Volvo began consolidating production of the S90 sedan at its Chinese factory in Daqing, with all S90 production to be sourced from China "soon".
This isn't the first time Volvo has exported cars from China since its purchase by Geely in 2010. In 2015, the company began retailing made-in-China long-wheelbase S60 Inscription models in the States.
Although native Chinese brands have struggled when exporting their cars to developed nations, western brands are beginning to use Chinese facilities to supply western markets. For example, the Cadillac CT6 Plug-in Hybrid and Buick Envision crossover are shipped from China to the US.