[Video] Volvo kicks off production of its first CMA model, the XC40 image

The first-ever XC40 compact crossover is gearing up for its North American debut at the LA Auto Show, and it’s also preparing for the first owners with production starting in Belgium.

The all-new SUV is being assembled at the Swedish company’s Ghent factory in Belgium with the first customer examples already being stockpiled for the start of deliveries that kick off early in 2018. Notably, the XC40 is the first Volvo produced on the second all-new architecture – CMA – and it’s going to underpin the entire 40 series and anything beneath if Volvo decides to cook up. And it’s already shaping up as a major success for the brand, with 13,000 orders pending, meaning it has a lot of catching up to do in the coming months. “This is a proud day for Ghent, the company and all our employees here. The XC40 represents a bright future for Ghent and for Volvo Cars,” said Volvo Cars chief executive and president Hakan Samuelsson.

Pre-production of the new Volvo XC40 in the manufacturing plant in Ghent

The Ghent plant, where the XC40 is being assembled, has been marginally expanded and restructured to fulfill the requirements of the new production model, along with the rest of the models it’s been producing – the V40 and V40 Cross Country compacts, along with the S60 and V60. The factory now sports an additional 363 new robots, the most interesting being one the company has labeled as “The Beast” because of its size and the fact it’s unique within the Volvo global manufacturing system – his task is to lifts lower car bodies to a conveyor belt close to the ceiling of the facility.