GUADALAJARA, MX – Volvo’s “shape of trucks to come” has come to Mexico, with the official unveiling of the VNL long-haul tractor, VNR regional hauler, and an expanded VAH auto hauler lineup.
It’s a significant expansion of Volvo offerings available in the country, which had previously been limited to the VNL long-haul trucks.
“Mexico is a very important market for us globally,” said Magnus Koeck, vice president – marketing and brand management, comparing the market’s size to that of Canada, with 25,000 to 27,000 in annual sales placing Mexico among the largest truck markets in the world.
Volvo now has a presence in 140 countries overall, with manufacturing capabilities on every continent. The North American models will be built in Dublin, Virginia.
There will be more trucks to manufacture, too. Volvo now projects North America’s Class 8 market to reach 260,000 units next year, compared to 235,000 in 2017. That could even be a conservative number, Koeck added, noting that some analysts are predicting as many as 309,000 units. “We will see if that will hold.”
Buyers around Mexico City will also have easier access to the trucks, through Grupo Alden’s addition to the dealership network following a US $6 million investment. Volvo now has 43 dealer locations in Mexico overall.
Volvo launched the VNL in Dublin, Virginia, this July, following a reveal of the VNR at the Expocam trade show in Montreal.
“We truly believe we will with these new trucks set the new stage for the future,” Koeck said, referring to productivity, fuel efficiency and uptime.
One key distinction between these trucks and those available in Canada and the U.S. will be the power under the hood. The trucks will be powered by U.S. EPA04/Euro 4 Volvo engines. The fuel-saving GHG17 designs will only be an option in areas where Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel and Diesel Exhaust Fluid are available.
Meanwhile, the manufacturer also has its sights on the future.
While natural gas was the “buzz word” several years ago, people are now focused on connectivity, electromobility, and automation, Koeck said. And he stressed that Volvo has the power to launch such innovations.
There are still hurdles to overcome, though. The technology for autonomous vehicles is pretty much in place, but there are still issues such as the regulatory environment that would need to be addressed, Koeck said as an example. He also pointed to the recent collision between a truck and an autonomous shuttle that happened just hours into an inaugural run in Las Vegas.
Indeed, there are still questions to be answered.
“We will be there when the market is ready for it,” he said, “in Mexico, in the U.S., and in Canada.”
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