Volvo truck, FLC - 1990

FLC

There are two markedly different types of vehicles in the light-duty truck segment (around 7,5 tonne GVW); the small vehicles, which have been upgraded to cope with a larger GVW, and the 'genuine' medium trucks, which have been adapted to the lower GVW through the use of lighter driveline and chassis components.

These trucks have preserved driver comfort, space and safety levels together with ample quality reserves for use during many years. They are often used by transport companies specializing in activities other than transport, but needing efficient, safe and reliable transport.

The virtue of utilization
There has been a trend towards small goods vehicles with comparatively high fuel consumption, low payload, limited adaptation to driver environment and space, but with a low purchase price for the customer and which can be utilized for low goods volumes. At a time when the means for maximum utilization of a large payload were not available, this was perhaps a relatively fast and effective means of transport.

But the inefficient use of too many vehicles of this type and the poor utilization of driver, vehicle and natural resources (fuel) are uneconomic and harmful for our environment.

Introducing guidance and positioning systems
With computerized transport guidance systems in combination with Global Positioning Systems there is a tendency to utilize larger vehicles in a better way, which will probably decrease the importance/use of inefficient small petrol- or diesel-driven vehicles in favour of medium-sized, high-quality trucks with good payload capacity.

Finding the right weight class
Volvo has concentrated in later years on vehicles from about 11 tonnes GVW and upward, with good environmental characteristics, relatively large payload and good environmental properties. But at the same time, requests from Volvo customers in need of not only medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks but also smaller trucks had been for a light-duty vehicle in the transport segment around the GVW class of 7.5 tonnes, which is very popular in several countries in Europe.

Customers who asked for a Volvo vehicle in this class shared the opinion that vehicles from manufacturers other than Volvo did not meet Volvo customers´ demands. The desired truck should give the same level of comfort and safety for the driver as the FL6, have a sufficient payload and be more powerful than the FL4 (which was taken out of the product programme in 1989 due to the limited power output from the Volvo engine of only about 3,6 litres).

The lightest Volvo truck
In 1996 the FLC (Forward control, Low cab, for City transport) was introduced to offer Volvo qualities in the light-truck category. This consisted in general of the FL6 cab but coupled to a much lighter driveline (including an efficient direct-injected diesel engine with turbo and intercooler and good environmental characteristics, produced by the independent engine manufacturer Perkins) and the lightest possible reliable chassis components.

The FLC was the lightest vehicle in the Volvo range and well accepted by demanding customers who care about overall transport efficiency, driver comfort and long-term economy and environmental care. In 2000, however, it was succeeded by the lightest version of the new FL range.