Published on May 3rd, 2018 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Say hello to the Lynk & CO plant in Zhangjiakou
This brand new high technology/ultra-modern plant combines technology and manufacturing know-how from the Geely and Volvo Cars units of China auto giant Zhejiang Geely Holding Group.
The 12 billion yuan (USD1.89 billion) investment is a bright, freshly painted example of the challenge confronting long-established auto factories in mature industrial economies.
As automakers adopt a new generation of manufacturing technology, industry officials are confident that they can deploy the same packages of robots, assembly line designs and digital quality control systems anywhere in the world and train people to do the tasks robots cannot yet perform.
Plant manager Tong Xiangbei is in the vanguard of a tech revolution that enables automakers to put new factories in remote places like Zhangjiakou, a city of four million people in Hebei province and far from many of Geely’s parts makers.
With Lynk & CO, Geely is targeting younger and less affluent buyers than typical Volvo customers, but who still demand more sophistication and technology than a standard Geely Automobile Holdings car for the mass market in China.
The Zhangjiakou complex will build the Lynk & CO 02 SUV and a sedan called the 03 for the Chinese market. Currently, the plant has about 1,800 workers on one daily shift, labouring alongside nearly 300 robots. When the factory goes to a second shift, it will employ 3,000 people capable of building about 200,000 cars per year, Tong said. Those are employment and production levels consistent with mature market auto plants.