Volvo drives new cars over rocks before you do

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2018 Volvo XC90 rolls off the assembly line in Torslanda, Sweden

Every new car Volvo builds at its various assembly plants has driven over a patch of bumpy road reminiscent of a small Scandinavian town, long before the car lands on a dealer lot—and that’s something that won’t change when the automaker begins building its redesigned S60 in South Carolina soon.

Volvo will begin building the next-generation S60 in Charleston, South Carolina later this year, and the first time the cars are driven under their own power will be over rocks.

“The rock formation is used at our plants to settle the chassis components prior to setting wheel alignment,” said Stephanie Mangini, Volvo’s communications chief for the Charleston plant.

Rocky path used for suspension checks at Volvo plant in Torslanda, Sweden

Other automakers typically use rubber or concrete bumps to check for anything amiss underneath the vehicle, but Volvo’s cobblestone-esque surface is a little more quaint. The rocks at its main plant in Torslanda, Sweden were sourced locally. For Charleston, Volvo made a mold of the surface in Torslanda and recreated it in South Carolina.

We want the bumps to be exactly the same globally,” Mangini told .

Volvo plans to build about 100,000 cars annually in Charleston once the plant is running at full capacity, including the S60 plus a next-generation XC90 from 2021, meaning that patch of Swedish-style concrete will soon be well-traveled.

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