3/7/2011

New Volvo Autohauler Helps Customers Maximize Capacity and Boost Efficiency



by Brandon Borgna

Volvo Trucks in North America introduces a new truck exclusively for the automobile transport business.

Volvo Trucks in North America introduces a new truck exclusively for the automobile transport business.  The Volvo Autohauler (VAH) was developed to maximize freight capacity while bringing efficiency, safety and comfort to this important niche 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 senior vice president, 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 providing the weight distribution needed for excellent maneuverability.  With a clean top-of-frame behind the cab, the VAH is built 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,” Volvo Trucks marketing product manager Wade Long said. “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, Hansen & 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. Minimizing cab height is particularly important for Cassens, 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 vice president, 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 is the first OEM to bring to market an auto transporter with an EPA 2010 engine. Volvo Trucks’ EPA ‘10 solution, with No Regen Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), improves fuel efficiency by 5 percent or more over EPA 2007 engines.  Available with a Volvo D11 or D13 engine, the VAH can deliver up to 500 horsepower.

In addition to efficiency, the VAH is designed for safety and comfort.  A typically quiet and spacious Volvo cab, together with an ergonomic instrument panel that puts controls within safe and easy reach, provides a comfortable operating experience, minimizing driver fatigue.  

To further boost driver comfort, save fuel and enhance safety, the VAH is available with a Volvo I-Shift transmission. The intelligent transmission system continuously monitors changes in grade, vehicle speed, acceleration, torque demand, weight and air resistance.  With the engine and transmission in constant communication, I-Shift automatically selects the best gear for the engine.

“Our driver loves the I-shift,” said Suhre. “It’s more intelligent than an automatic transmission and bypasses gears that aren’t necessary.”

Equipped with the EPA 2010 engine, comfortable cab, and all the features customers have come to expect in a Volvo truck, the VAH is an innovative and reliable solution for the auto transport market.

 “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.  
 
Like all Volvo trucks for North America, the VAH is being assembled in the USA, at the company’s New River Valley plant in Dublin, Va.

Hansen VAH 400

VAH_Cassens 400
The new Volvo Autohauler (Hansen & Adkins, upper and Cassens, lower) features a lower chassis and shorter bumper-to-back-of-cab for easy and efficient transport of cars and trucks.  

Volvo Trucks North America’s operations and products are guided by the company’s three core values: Quality, Safety and Environmental Care. The Volvo VN and VHD trucks are assembled in the United States at the New River Valley Plant in Dublin, Virginia, while Volvo engines for North America are assembled in Hagerstown, Maryland. Both plants are certified to ISO14001 environmental and ISO9001 quality standards.

Volvo Trucks North America is part of the Volvo Group, one of the world's leading manufacturers of trucks, buses and construction equipment, drive systems for marine and industrial applications, aerospace components and services, and one of the world's leading producers of heavy-diesel engines (9-16 liter). The Group also provides complete solutions for financing and service. The Volvo Group, which employs more than 90,000 people, has production facilities in 19 countries and sells their products in more than 180 markets. Volvo Group sales for 2010 amounted to $36.7 billion. The Volvo Group is a publicly-held company headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden. Volvo Shares are listed on Nasdaq OMX Nordic Exchange and are traded OTC in the U.S.

March 7, 2011

For further information, please contact Brandon Borgna, Volvo Trucks North America, phone 336-393-2143, email brandon.borgna@volvo.com

www.volvotrucks.us.com

Brandon Borgna
Manager, Media Relations
+1 336 3932143
e-mail: brandon.borgna@volvo.com

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