Volvo Cars said Tuesday it will embark on a major recruitment program, hiring up to 1,200 workers within a 12-month period as it makes a major push to develop fuel-efficient vehicles.
Most of the recruits will be research and development engineers working on improving fuel efficiency, including the electrification of cars, the Sweden-based company said.
Volvo Cars, which was acquired from Ford Motor Co. for $1.5 billion by China's Geely Holding Group last year, said it also will hire staff in marketing, procurement, IT and manufacturing. More than half of the new staff will be located in Sweden.
"We need to expand our operations to enable development of the highly competitive and fuel-efficient products and technologies which are part of our growth plan," CEO Stefan Jacoby said.
The move comes just a month after Volvo revealed plans to invest up to $11 billion in further expanding worldwide over the next five years.
"This is one of the biggest recruitment projects that Volvo Car Corp. ever has carried out," said Bjorn Sallstrom, a senior vice president of Volvo's human resources. "The new engineers are needed to develop the technologies and car models which are part of the aggressive product plan that our board and executive management team has developed."
The company said 2010 had been a real turnaround for the auto sector, with Volvo's global sales soaring more than 11 percent compared with the previous year. Also, 2011 began well, showing market growth in Europe and North America.
During the financial crisis, Volvo slashed about 25 percent of its 25,000 work force. Currently, it has 19,500 employees worldwide, with 13,000 in Sweden.