Volvo is today one of the leading manufacturers of trucks in North America. To achieve this position has been very tough, and Volvo's present position is the result of numerous measures taken over more than 40 years.
The attempt to conquer the US
The first attempt by Volvo to conquer the North American market was made in 1958 but after two to three years of technical development, limited sales and the creation of a service network, it was obvious that Volvo trucks were not sufficiently adapted to the local American transport requirements of the era.
The second attempt at conquering America was made in the early 1970s. A large number of test trucks were tested in daily transport operations in eastern USA. After having confirmed the superior economy of Volvo trucks over traditional American trucks, marketing of the F86 truck model started in 1974. In 1976, the F6 was added to the range, in 1978, the first N10 trucks were sold in USA, and, in 1979, the F7 was added to the north American Volvo product range.
It proved very difficult to build a first-class service network based solely on Volvo products. For this reason, a deal was made between Volvo and Freightliner (who had incidentally had a marketing and sales agreement with White that had been terminated). The end of this cooperation came in 1981, when Volvo's main competitor Mercedes-Benz took over Freightliner. The whole Volvo truck presence in North America was threatened.
Different ways of continuing the Volvo American activities were evaluated, and in the end it was decided to purchase the truck assets of White Motor Corporation, which had an ultra-modern product range and new, modern production facilities, but had been severely struck by the ongoing recession in America in the late 1970s.