Volvo Adds Production And Jobs To U.S. | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Volvo Adds Production And Jobs To U.S.

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The Volvo manufacturing plant in Hagerstown, Md.
Borgna Brandon
The Volvo manufacturing plant in Hagerstown, Md.

The Federal Reserve reports industrial production in the U.S. rose slightly in July, and that's reflected in the locally based Volvo manufacturer, which is bringing production and jobs back to the area.

The Volvo powertrain plant in Hagerstown, Md. already employs approximately 1,500 workers who develop and manufacture diesel truck engines and transmissions. Soon they'll add more jobs by transferring the production of the company's Automated Manual Transmission Assembly from Sweden.

"It make a lot of sense to build products closer to our customers in the U.S.," says Wade Watson, Vice President of Operations for Hagerstown Volvo. "Customers in North America really took a liking to this transmission, so it made sense to build it here."

Watson calls the shift, "insourcing ," a departure from the practice of outsourcing, and in Hagerstown, it's created 50 new jobs.

"That's a good number," he says. "When you look at a manufacturing job, there's a ratio for other jobs in the community so for every manufacturing job that you add to a community, there's fireman and policeman, teachers and others that benefit from that job creation.

The company spent $8 million creating a new high-tech assembly line. "We have two robots on the line that do some of the more tedious and repetitive jobs, and it's all automated," he says.

Watson hopes to create similar initiatives to help rebuild domestic manufacturing and encourage other industrial producers to insource, rather than outsource.

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