ATLANTA, Ga. – Volvo is introducing a VNR 660 model, for customers with length restrictions or who are weight-sensitive.
It comes with a 61-inch high-roof sleeper, complementing the VNR 640 with 61-inch mid-roof sleeper. The new offering will enter production in March 2020 in limited quantities, Volvo announced at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show.
“It’s not only going to provide best-in-class maneuverability, it also has fantastic visibility and best-in-class safety,” said Allison Athey, product marketing manager.
The truckmaker also announced it will be offering FlowBelow wheel covers and fairings as a factory-installed option, beginning in the second quarter of 2020. Athey said the system improves fuel economy by about 1% over the most aerodynamic package offered by Volvo today.
Martin Lundstedt, president and CEO of Volvo Group globally, was on-hand to recognize the importance of the North American market.
“We are actually executing our biggest investment program ever in North America,” Lundstedt said. “We will continue to do so for a number of years.”
He noted Volvo builds all the trucks it sells into the North American market in the U.S.
Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America, referred to North America as Volvo’s “second home market.”
While demand for Class 8 trucks is cooling, Voorhoeve said he still remains upbeat about market conditions.
“My view of the North American market is yes, it will cool down marginally a little bit in 2020,” he said, citing Brexit and trade tensions as possible reasons. “At the same time, I think we will still see fairly good consumer spending, fairly good consumer confidence and at the end of the day, that affects our business.”
Volvo Group is projecting the Class 8 market to decline from 340,000 units this year, to about 240,000 next year. That’s a little below the 10-year average of 260,000-270,000 units.
“But it’s a good level,” said Voorhoeve.
Volvo has grown its Canadian market share this year to 13.7%, up from 13.5% last year, however its U.S. share has declined from 10.7% to 9.3%. Including Mexico, where its share also climbed, Volvo now controls 9.3% of the North American Class 8 market. Voorhoeve blamed the decline in the U.S. on supply constraints early in the year.
“We are catching up now,” he said. “We saw a very good July and August. The outlook for Q4 is really good.”
Volvo now boasts a million connected assets globally, including 200,000 trucks in North America. The company continues to work on its VNR Electric, with the first five trucks being send to California where they’ll be put into service at West Coast ports. The US$90-million project was cost-shared between the California Air Resources Board and Volvo.
“It can drive, we have customers ready to go,” Voorhoeve said. “It’s in testing mode but we are shipping five right now to California, 18 in 2020 and by the end of 2020 we are ready to sell, ready to take the orders and ready to make this planet a cleaner planet.”
James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies