Constant improvement to an already outstanding platform is energising the Volvo dealer network, with the new range set to come off the production line in just a few months.
Almost to the day last year I got a call from Volvo’s then marketing hot shot, Phillippa Stewart. I was two days away from flying to Sweden for the global release of Volvo’s biggest model makeover. “Sorry David, but it’s off,” said Stewart.
I was actually hoping for the call, as Sweden’s Covid strategy was about to fall off a cliff.
That was the last hint of travel for 2020, until last week when Volvo hosted media at its Wacol HQ, introduced the new range and updated us on some future plans.
It’s worked out well though because new components have been added. Orders are now being taken and the new range will start rolling down the Australian production line in the week commencing July 12.
New Volvo Australia vice-president Gary Bone also noted that Volvo will add electric versions of every Volvo model to series production during 2022, but added that diesel fuel still has a long-term future in Australia, given our range and load requirements.
The group president Martin Merrick was more explicit: “We are on a journey to building only fossil fuel free trucks by 2040. The internal combustion engine (ICE) still has a long way to go however, although perhaps we will see an ICE engine that also uses fossil free fuel.”
The FM, FMX, FH and FH16 trucks have all been revamped with upgrades to the safety package and improvements to driver functions.
The FH cab remains the same, but the FM cab from the floor pan up is basically an FH. The larger windscreen, slimmer A-pillars, slim-line mirrors and a lower door line delivers 10 per cent more visibility.
There’s also a new passenger corner camera that activates when the left-hand indicator is used.
Inside there’s an extra cubic metre of interior space – the day cab version has 40 per cent more storage as well, and you can now get a crew cab FM or FMX.
There’s a new digital instrument cluster with a touch screen side display. A new traction control switch cluster tidies up handling the traction options and the I-Shift gear selector is reshaped.
An optional adaptive auto high beam dip for the FH and FH16 LED headlights also pings motorcycles and cyclists according to Volvo, and the adaptive cruise control now operates down to zero km/h.
The Australian I-Save option adds GPS/topographical cruise control to the new D13K 500hp and 2800Nm turbo compound engine to for maximum fuel efficiency on variable terrain.
It includes idle shut-down, a 2.83 final drive (to 70-tonnes GCM), variable displacement power steering pump and low rolling resistance tyres. Euro VI emissions technology is available as an option across the range.
Each week we see new industry-wide electric power development.
Clearly Volvo locally intends on keeping existing wheels turning in any setting.