Volvo VAH ready to roll as auto sector restarts

John G Smith

GREENSBORO, N.C. – North America’s automotive manufacturers are on the slow road to recovery after pandemic-related shutdowns. And Volvo Trucks North America is at the ready with a refreshed Volvo Auto Hauler – the VAH – to support the related business.

The VAH 300 has an 11-vehicle capacity. (Photo: Volvo Trucks)

“That is a segment that is very niche, very dependent on the car production,” said Magnus Koeck, vice-president, marketing and brand. But Volvo accounts for a significant share of such configurations, he added.

The truck’s initial launch had been a quiet one, because of restrictions associated with Covid-19, but the OEM was shining a light on the VAH today during an online presentation to North American media.

The VAH itself is based on the VHD vocational truck, which was first unveiled during this year’s Conexpo show in Las Vegas, and comes in the VAH 300 daycab, and 400 and 600 sleeper variations.

The VAH 300 day cab has an 11-vehicle capacity, features a 52-inch cab height, and comes with 94.5 and 97.5-inch unladen roof heights and 113.6-inch BBC. The VAH 400 sleeper offers a 52-inch cab height, a 145.6-inch BBC, and the choice of 97.5- and 102.5-inch roof heights. The VAH 600, which has the same roof heights as the VAH 400, has a 61-inch cab height for added driver comfort, while its premium sleeper includes a 36-inch-wide mattress and refrigerator.

The VAH features added comfort that comes with the additional living space a 61-inch cab.

The cabs don’t require any structural changes outside the roof modification, either, maintaining front-impact safety features.

The heights are particularly important to auto haulers, noted Johan Agebrand, director of product marketing.

The combination of deep-drop front axles, low-height Volvo Air Ride rear suspensions, and reduced-height cab options all help to make room for larger vehicles such as pickup trucks and SUVs to be positioned above the cab.

Up front, the truck has received a new facia, including a new grille, new air intakes, and LED headlights. The lights themselves are available with a new heating element and de-icing function, too.

Under the hood, power options include the proprietary D11 and D13 engine, supported by the I-Shift transmission including crawler gears.

The trucks are also available with Volvo Active Driver Assist and its emergency braking capabilities, as well as passive safety features found on other products in the Volvo lineup – such as the engine that will drop away from the cab in the event of a collision.

“The Volvo VAH shares many characteristics with its sibling, the Volvo VHD,” Agebrand said.

There are several advantages there. The recessed center 45-mm tow pin, for example, allows the day cab to retain its 113.6-inch BBC. And the three-piece bumper adds to serviceability.

The truck with axle-back configurations can also be spec’d with the Volvo Dynamic Steering System, which reduces steering wheel forces by up to 85%.

In the cab, amenities include LED lighting, a high-resolution programmable LCD screen to communicate vehicle alerts, and an optional infotainment system with a seven-inch color touch screen and premium audio.

It’s ready to haul, as the auto industry gets rolling once again.

John G Smith

John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, TruckTech, Transport Routier, Canadian Shipper, Inside Logistics, Solid Waste & Recycling, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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