Quick facts about Volvo Trucks in the UK and Ireland

Volvo Trucks 
Since 1967, the Volvo Trucks story in the UK and Ireland market has been one of resolute focus on the company’s core values of quality, safety and care for the environment. For over forty years, Volvo Trucks has offered transport operators in the UK and Ireland a wide choice of vehicles and support products that demonstrate those values. Today, the company focuses on delivering a total transport solution to operators based on quality and customer service. With the cost of fuel continuing to escalate, at Volvo Trucks we know that our customers have to make every drop of diesel count. That’s why we and our Dealers work closely in partnership with transport operators in the UK and Ireland to deliver long-term fuel savings and the environmental benefits of lowered emissions.

In the beginning
Volvo Trucks has been selling trucks in the UK and Ireland since 1967 when Jim Keyden and Jim McKelvie’s company, Ailsa Trucks Ltd., became the sole Volvo Truck and Bus concessionaire for the region. Jim Keyden 'Leading British Industrialist' and Jim McKelvie a successful haulier both believed that the market was ready for a quality product with a higher level of support than the competition offered at the time.
The company was originally based at Barrhead, Glasgow and sales quickly grew from 165 trucks in 1967 to reach their 1,000th in 1970. In 1972, they took over a former military depot site of 75 acres (30 hectares) at Redburn, Irvine, Scotland. The plant received built-up vehicles from Gothenburg and assembled chassis such as multi-axle rigids and tippers for the UK market. The success of the venture was aided by the higher standard of equipment in the cabs, coupled with the availability of parts from dealerships on Sundays. These features were of a considerable attraction for owner-drivers, who formed a large proportion of the early buyers. The same year the 5,000th Volvo truck was sold in the UK and Volvo acknowledged the market’s potential by acquiring a majority shareholding in Ailsa Trucks. Volvo Trucks also achieved leadership of the UK Heavy Truck (28 tonnes +) market for the first time.

Moving forward
By 1977 the 1,000th truck manufactured at Irvine rolled off the production line and the following year saw the sale of the 25,000th truck to the UK and Ireland market. In fact, by 1979, the UK and Ireland had become Volvo’s largest truck market, with over 4,000 trucks registered.

As the business grew, the decision was taken in 1985, to relocate the parts distribution operation to Warwick, close to the M40.  In 1994, the FH was awarded International Truck of the Year, a feat which it repeated in 2000.

The Head Office at Warwick was further expanded in 2002 when a three storey extension was opened to provide a top class technical and commercial training facility as well as offices for Volvo IT, together with customer facing and administrative functions.

Today and tomorrow
Volvo Trucks recognises that it is no longer enough to just provide our customers with fuel efficient trucks. It is also our responsibility to develop the technology and the tools that will deliver fuel savings and business efficiencies for our customers. That is why we are committed to providing our customers with a Total Transport Solution.  We aim to listen, understand and work in partnership with our customers.  Our approach is consultative and business solution based.  Under the headings of Fuelwatch and Fuel Management Service, we offer customers a comprehensive range of fuel saving transport solutions – from Driver Development and CPC Training to Volvo Service Point Online.

We are constantly updating the technology used in our trucks to improve their fuel efficiency. With careful engine design encompassing the latest emission controls and the increase in vehicle weights, the overall productivity of a Volvo truck has increased by 40% over the last 30 years. Today, we are confident that, with the Euro 5 D7, D11, D13 and D16, we have the definitive benchmark engines for fuel efficiency in the urban distribution, regional transport and long-haul sectors in the UK and Ireland market.

Volvo Trucks: Quick facts

Key dates:
1966 Ailsa Trucks Ltd formed by Jim Keyden and Jim McKelvie to import F86 and F88s.
1967 165 Volvo trucks sold in the UK.
1970 F88 engine output raised to 290hp for UK customers.
1972 Irvine site acquired for new factory and Head Office.
1975 Ailsa Trucks bought by Volvo and changes name to Volvo Trucks (Great Britain) Ltd.
1976 F10 and F12 range launched.
1977 Co-founder Jim McKelvie dies aged 56.
1978 F7 range launched.
1979 F6 16 tonner launched in the UK.
1980 F12 Globetrotter launched in the UK.
1984 F10 Intercooler awarded Truck of the Year.
1985 Co-founder Kim Keyden retires aged 76. FL range launched. Volvo Parts moves from Irvine to Warwick.
1986 FL voted Truck of the Year. FL4 7.5 tonner launched in the UK.
1988 FL10 wins Fleet Truck of the Year.
1989 First F16 launched.
1993 FH range launched.
1994 FH is awarded International Truck of the Year. Volvo Trucks (Great Britain) Ltd becomes Volvo Truck and Bus Ltd.
1995 FL12 launched.
1999 Volvo Truck Nation launched – the first manufacturer’s driver’s club in the UK.
2000 FH wins International Truck of the Year again. Irvine closes on June 30th.
2001 Fuel saving I-Shift automated transmission introduced.
2002 Jim Keyden dies aged 92. New Head Office opens at Warwick.
2005 New FH and FM launched.
2006 New FL and FE launched. FH16-660 launched.
2008 New fuel efficient 11 litre engine introduced for FM range. Driver Alert System and Lane Changing Support launched. Inaugural Jim Keyden Award won by Technician Apprentice from Volvo Truck and Bus Centre North. 80th Anniversary FH goes on sale in the UK and Ireland. Fuel Management Service launched. 2009 FH16-700 launched. Low Entry Cab FE launched and FE Hybrid Refuse truck begins customer trials in London. FM with 11 litre engine wins Irish Truck of the Year Award. Volvo Trucks win Greenfleet Environmental Award for fourth consecutive year.
2010 New FMX, FM and Narrow Track FL launched.