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Volvo launches new truck for automobile transport

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Volvo Trucks North America has introduced a new truck exclusively for the automobile transport business. Officials say the Volvo Autohauler (VAH) was developed to maximize freight capacity while bringing efficiency, safety...


The new Volvo Autohauler features a lower chassis and shorter bumper-to-back-of-cab designed for easy and efficient transport of cars and trucks.
The new Volvo Autohauler features a lower chassis and shorter bumper-to-back-of-cab designed for easy and efficient transport of cars and trucks.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Volvo Trucks North America has introduced a new truck exclusively for the automobile transport business. Officials say the Volvo Autohauler (VAH) was developed to maximize freight capacity while bringing efficiency, safety and comfort to the automotive market.

The VAH is a day cab with a lower chassis than standard models, a short bumper-to-back-of-cab (BBC) dimension and an EPA 2010 engine. 

“The new Volvo Autohauler is designed to maximize loading space for our customers while incorporating the latest in engine technology,” said Ron Huibers, Volvo Trucks North America’s senior vice-president of sales and marketing. “The lower chassis reduces the overall height of the truck, allowing a car, pick-up or minivan to be positioned over the cab to maximize the efficiency of every delivery.”

The design also features an axle-forward configuration, designed to provide the weight distribution needed for optimum manoeuvrability. With a clean top-of-frame behind the cab, the VAH is designed for quick body mounting and easy trailer hook up. 

“Our goal with this new auto hauler was to reduce lead time and increase efficiency for auto transporters,” said Volvo Trucks marketing product manager Wade Long. “We worked closely with customers and truck body builders to understand and meet their needs. Volvo Trucks is confident that the VAH has the design, engineering and performance that the demanding vehicle transport market has been waiting for.”

“In our business, the truck cab needs to be as small as possible to maximize loading space,” said Steve Hansen, executive vice-president of Hansen and Adkins Auto Transport. “The cab height, frame height and BBC dimensions are very important.  With the new Volvo Autohauler, we’re getting a truck that gives us the capacity we need. The inside of the cab is comfortable, too, and has more room than you might expect.” 

Hansen, whose company operates 325 trucks, ordered one of the first prototypes and worked closely with Volvo Trucks as it refined the design and prepared for production. He recently placed an order for 40 new Volvo Autohaulers.

“I like to be on leading edge,” Hansen said. “There’s some risk to it, but the benefit is helping to build a better product that will help us gain capacity and better serve our customers.”

Cassens Transport Company, which operates a fleet of 1,200 trucks, also ordered a VAH prototype, selecting it primarily because of its cab dimensions. Cassens officials say minimizing cab height is particularly important for the company, which delivers to many older cities along the east coast, where low overpasses are often a concern.

“The whole game is about inches and the VAH offers the lowest cab available,” said Brian Suhre, Cassens Transport Company’s vice-president of facilities and equipment. “Yet when you get inside, the interior is spacious and doesn’t feel mechanical. It’s like driving a nice passenger car.”

With the introduction of the VAH, Volvo says it is the first OEM to bring to market an auto transporter with an EPA 2010 engine. Available with a Volvo D11 or D13 engine, the VAH can deliver up to 500 hp, Volvo says.

Volvo says the VAH’s quiet and spacious cab, together with an ergonomic instrument panel that puts controls within safe and easy reach, helps provide a comfortable operating experience, minimizing driver fatigue.  

The VAH is also available with a Volvo I-Shift transmission, which continuously monitors changes in grade, vehicle speed, acceleration, torque demand, weight and air resistance and automatically selects the best gear for the engine.

“The VAH is another example of how Volvo operates – combining leading-edge development and production with a commitment to meeting the customer’s needs,” Long said.   

The VAH is being assembled at Volvo’s New River Valley plant in Dublin, Va.


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