The Lockwood Report

July 12, 2017 Vol. 14 No. 14

Volvo has been mighty busy of late. Back in late April it chose our very own Expocam truck show in Montreal to unveil its new and long overdue VNR regional tractor. Promoted as the “shape of trucks to come,” it was joined this week by another much updated truck, the long-haul VNL, replete with all manner of safety technology as standard equipment.

Not content to stop there, Volvo set the VNL press launch against the backdrop of a new customer center at its New River Valley plant.

Part of a broader US$38.1-million manufacturing investment there in Dublin, Virginia, the facility covers 36,000 sq ft, and features a product showroom, two exhibit rooms, a pair of pilot review rooms, and a central theater with an 82-ft turntable.

Customers can also take trucks up to highway speeds on a 1.1-mile track with banked corners, varying surfaces, and actual grades.

Looked at from above, the structure even takes the shape of a Volvo logo, officially known as the iron mark. Cool.

THE NEW VNL TRACTOR, set for production between September and November, comes in several models: the VNL 300 daycab; VNL 400 flat-roof sleeper; VNL 740 mid-roof; VNL 760 high-roof; and VNL 860 with its 77-inch sleeper. The VNL 740 and VNL 760 are also available with a new 70-inch sleeper, replacing the previous 61-inch design. All have a 124-inch BBC.

Many design elements are clearly shared with the VNR, although other features are also specific to the needs of long-haulers.

One clear Swedish influence is the use of the Globetrotter name for the premium sleeper package, a name that’s been used in Europe since Volvo introduced a raised-roof sleeper there in 1979. Here, the VNL 760 and VNL 860 Globetrotters will come with a full aerodynamic package, polished wheels, high-end seating, as well as a refrigerator, inverter, and parking cooler package.