Ten years after the take-over of the White Motor Corporation's truck assets in 1981 Volvo had established a strong position, especially after having reinforced the sales and service network through the acquisition of General Motors´ 'Class 8' truck activities.
Combining Europe and America
There were many reasons to try to concentrate all development and manufacture of trucks to America, instead of importing trucks for certain transport segments from Europe. It seemed natural to develop a distribution cab-over-engine truck for manufacture in America, which combined the best traditions of Europe and America.
Volvo's biggest truck sales success until then had been with the F6 and the FE6/FE7, both being very efficient distribution trucks with modern ergonomic and safe cabs. It seemed natural to 'marry' the ultramodern FE cab (produced in Umeå, Sweden) to efficient and reliable Volvo-designed American components. The result was presented in 1990 as the 'FE42' truck.
Suited for regional distributions
The FE42 was a very strong truck intended for distribution transport based on the chassis from the well-recognized WG truck (introduced in 1998 and designed completely within Volvo GM Heavy Truck Corporation, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA) and the FL6/FE6/FE7 cab produced in Sweden.
This meant that the new truck was extremely strong and very well adapted not only to medium-duty distribution operations but also to regional distribution, even with a semi-trailer, or as a powerful medium-heavy fire truck, to name just a few areas where the new FE truck became well accepted.