Volvo Car US Operations Inc. hosted an unveiling event at its Berkeley County, S.C., facility yesterday marking its first forklift delivery from Kion North America, seven months after the Kion Group unit signed a five-year agreement with Volvo to supply material handling equipment for the company's first U.S. factory.
The facility is located five miles from the new Volvo Cars factory, which will be the global production home of the new S60 sedan. The South Carolina plant is the fifth of a number of Volvo facilities around the world being supplied by Kion Group AG, Kion North America's German parent, said Vincent Halma, president and CEO of Kion North America.
The fleet includes forklifts, reach trucks, and tow tractors. It also represents the first complete lithium-ion powered forklift fleet to support automotive manufacturing in North America, according to Kion North America. The Volvo factory will have the capacity to produce up to 120,000 cars per year.
"Our goal is to have the least intrusive footprint as possible," said Katarina Fjording, vice president of purchasing and manufacturing for Volvo. "By 2025, we aspire to be carbon-neutral, and implementing lithium-ion-powered industrial trucks at our facility is a big step towards that."
In addition to supplying and servicing the equipment, Kion North America will also host training programs at its Summerville, S.C., facility for Volvo's equipment operators throughout the agreement's duration.
"Today is a reminder that one day, someday is now," said Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), who attended the event. "You hear people and businesses say that one day we'll do this, someday we'll do that, but today we see those statements come to fruition."