To watch episode 1, where assembler Britta Gabriel tries out the job as a surface designer, click here.
Special Vehicles – Building the extraordinary
Special Vehicles really does what the name suggests. Police cars, taxis, hearses, the ultra luxurious XC90 Excellence – special things are indeed built here – and the staff work in a very different way compared to the factory.
If you work as an assembler in the plant, you normally have work processes that take around one minute, which you repeat on every new car coming down the assembly line. At Special Vehicles, a separate part of the Torslanda plant, you work several hours on each car. For example, it takes eight hours to modify a regular XC90 into an Excellence version, our most luxurious offering, complete with refrigerator and Orrefors crystal glasses between the two spacious back seats – with massage functions. Transforming a regular V90 into a Swedish police car takes about 55 hours of work, each one re-built with chassis updates and loads of gear for the uniformed drivers. The entire process is done by one assembler.
“All our employees need thorough training, and they need to work very systematically with the assembly”, says Anders Langré, supervisor at the Special Vehicles workshop.
The workshop is the largest section at Special Vehicles, where one team builds mainly taxis, cars for the construction company NCC and the XC90 Excellence. A second team builds police cars. A third team does cars for the rental company Hertz, the car sharing company Sunfleet, other company orders, and renovates used cars for resale. Special Vehicles also takes care of service and repairs on company cars, builds Polestar-trimmed cars and other detailed work.
Assemblers are part of the development process for new projects at Special Vehicles.
“Our assemblers have the best knowledge in many regards,” says Anders Langré. “They know how to create something that is efficient to put together.”
Apart from their main vehicles they also do ad-hoc stuff coming in, and they have built for example ambulances and hearses here in the workshop.
Working as an assembler at Special Vehicles requires a passion for building cars, you need to be independent, and you should do things carefully. Each recruit comes from the Torslanda plant, including Britta Gabriel, who works mainly with taxi assembly:
“Having personal control over each car and working independently is what I like most about this job. The stress is different compared to the assembly line in the factory.”
Facts: Special Vehicles
– The Special Vehicles Workshop builds around 2,500 cars each year. Including the service workshop, around 30,000 cars pass through each year.
– Around 60 staff work at Special Vehicles. A majority work as assemblers within the Special Vehicles Workshop.
Volvo Cars employees who are interested in trying a job swap themselves, read more here.