Volvo Cars will start producing cars at its first U.S. factory by the end of 2018, fulfilling a goal by the Swedish automaker to close a gap in its manufacturing footprint.
The automaker, which was acquired seven years ago by Chinese carmaker Zhejiang Geely Holdings, said Monday that the shell of the factory near Ridgeville, South Carolina is complete. About 2,000 workers are expected to staff the 2.3 million square-foot factory.
The $500 million factory will build up to 60,000 all-new Volvo S60 models per year for domestic and export markets, Volvo (VOLVF) said. The company also operates factories in Europe and China, as well as an assembly plant in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Volvo Cars began construction on the site in 2015 as part of its manufacturing strategy aimed at raising annual global sales to 800,000 cars by 2020. The company sold 534,332 cars in 2016, a 6.2% increase from the previous year.
“This investment shows Volvo’s commitment to build cars where we sell them and source where we build. The new factory is our first in the U.S., which is our second largest market globally,” Lex Kerssemakers, president and CEO of Volvo Car USA said in a statement.
When Volvo first announced its plans for a U.S. factory, it lay in stark contrast to an industry that was largely focused on building plants in Mexico. At the time, Kerssemakers told Fortune that strong logistics in the county, as well as proximity to parts suppliers already selling to BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen, had played a part in its decision.