Here’s Where Volvo Has Built Its New Design Studio

  • Volvo opens Design Studio Shanghai in China’s largest city, and near the country’s most important auto production hub.
  • The 59,200-square-foot facility will house over 100 designers and user-experience engineers, along with the latest prototyping equipment.
  • Volvo currently has another site in Shanghai just for engineering R&D, in addition to assembly plants in Chengdu, Daqing, and Taizhou.

    China has become a crucial market for many automakers, especially those with EVs in their lineups. Last month’s Shanghai auto show effectively confirmed the market’s newfound status as a trend setter, easily upstaging the New York auto show when it came to concept and production debuts.

    The Shanghai auto hub, meanwhile, has been home to a number of automakers dating back four decades at this point, with VW having been the first European brand to set up a joint venture in the Middle Kingdom, making the VW Santana of 1983 a common sight on the country’s roads. In addition to being the country’s main auto hub, Shanghai has also seen the construction of one of the first standalone car museums in the country.

    In a move that was perhaps overdue, Volvo has opened a design studio in the city, with the new state-of-the-art facility becoming the automaker’s third studio worldwide after Gothenburg, Sweden, and Camarillo, California.

    The new facility has all the equipment necessary to produce scale as well as full-size models of vehicle exteriors and interiors, in addition to user interface design.

    “Our Shanghai design team is a crucial and integrated part of our global design network,” said Jeremy Offer, Volvo head of global design. “The new premises and the latest technologies help strengthen the collaboration across our three design studios globally, as we continue to take Volvo Cars’ premium Scandinavian design to the next level.”

    The new design studio, which will be Volvo’s third such global facility after Sweden and California, will house over 100 designers and engineers.


    The two-story, 59,200-square-foot building may seem rather compact in photos, but Design Studio Shanghai has enough room for over 100 designers and engineers, with space for virtual-reality modeling, as well as traditional milling machines and 3D printers.

    The Shanghai team already has something tangible on its resume—the Volvo EX90 Excellence. The model will be an exclusive, limited-edition version of the battery-electric SUV, offering an even more luxurious interior.

    “The Volvo EX90 Excellence is a fantastic example of the fast-growing capabilities and competence of our Shanghai design team,” said Sophie Li, Volvo head of design for the Asia Pacific region. “With the aim to bring premium Scandinavian design closer to our customers in Asia Pacific, our team draws inspiration from both Scandinavian nature and Asian art to ensure our products attract and resonate with consumers in these markets.”

    But Volvo’s new design studio is far from the automaker’s sole site in the country. Volvo now has assembly plants in Chengdu, Taizhou, and Daqing, in addition to another site in Shanghai for engineering R&D. The automaker itself, of course, is owned by China’s Geely Group, based in Hangzhou, China.

    Jay Ramey grew up around very strange European cars, and instead of seeking out something reliable and comfortable for his own personal use he has been drawn to the more adventurous side of the dependability spectrum.

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