Volvo Group is advertising engineering jobs in the Salem area, describing the positions as “part of an exciting startup opportunity with the objective to start small and grow fast,” according to job descriptions posted to the company’s website.
Volvo Group spokesman John Mies said the company is not building a factory in Salem.
“We’re doing some work on a project related to future business needs, but we prefer not to comment further at this time,” Mies added via email.
The cryptic job descriptions raise more questions than they answer. How many workers does Volvo Group plan to employ in Salem? Where will they be stationed? What will they be working on?
As of Wednesday afternoon, two job posts advertised a total of three open positions in Salem. All are for Mack Trucks, a brand under the Volvo Group umbrella.
Salem is located 50 miles from the 3,000-employee Volvo Trucks plant in Pulaski County. Both Volvo and Mack trucks were previously assembled at the New River Valley facility, but the Mack line was moved to a Pennsylvania plant in 2009.
The first sentence of one job ad searching for product engineers reads, “Mack Medium Heavy Duty Truck is located in Salem, VA.”
Whoever is hired for those positions will be responsible for an unnamed product “after transition from design to volume production,” according to the post.
David Dopp, president of United Automobile Workers Local 171 union representing a Volvo powertrain plant in Hagerstown, Maryland, said plant managers there told him about two months ago that the company is opening a facility in Salem, Virginia. He said that he didn’t have any additional details.
“It was just a conversation with the plant managers, ‘Just to give you guys a heads up they’re going to open a facility,’ ” Dopp said. “It was nice he told us. At this point it doesn’t change my life one little bit.”
Mike Stevens, Salem’s communications director, wrote in an email that the city’s Commission of Revenue records show Mack Trucks Inc. has equipment only located at 236 Rowan Street. He clarified that doesn’t mean the company is manufacturing anything at that location.
There were no outward signs of truck manufacturing activity at the Rowan street address during a recent visit.
Officials from Roanoke County and Salem said neither Volvo Group nor Mack Trucks has filed any building plans, zoning requests or requests for permission to erect any signs.
The two job advertisements listed on Volvo Group’s website say the application window closes Feb. 28.
Staff writer Jeff Sturgeon contributed to this report.