Licensed to grille

Seen from a distance, the grilles on the front of the Volvo FH and FH16 are unmistakable and iconic. They are also highly practical. So what lies behind the design?
Ismail Ovacik with models

“The new grilles provide the optimised distribution of cooling air that is vital to engine performance and reducing emissions,” says Ismail Ovacik, Chief Designer Exterior, Volvo Trucks.

Volvo FH16 grille

While the Volvo FH has a single grille with the hexagonal design combined, the FH16 has a metal-over-black design that creates a 3D effect.

When the updated Volvo FH and FH16 trucks were launched in 2012, a few key changes heralded a new beginning for the flagship models. With Euro 6 regulations on the horizon, several modifications were needed to bring the trucks into line with market requirements. A design to improve cooling air for the engine was one major alteration that the Volvo Trucks’ design team in Gothenburg had to consider.

On hitting the drawing board, they came up with an optimised design for the grilles on both trucks, to improve cooling performance and air circulation around the engine. “The new grilles provide the optimised distribution of cooling air that is vital to engine performance and reducing emissions,” says Ismail Ovacik, Chief Designer Exterior, Volvo Trucks. Looking closely at the grille designs on both trucks, the amount of craftsmanship that was involved in their creation is clear. Each cell of the hexagonal ‘honeycomb’ mesh is individually built to function as effectively as possible, while the patterns themselves are inspired by the repetitive patterns in nature. “Designing an icon means high attention to the details of our brand” continues Ismail Ovacik. “With that in our minds, a great deal of creative effort went into the grille design. Due to the size involved, it actually took a major effort to get the grilles produced.”

Ismail Ovacik with designs

Designing and producing the new grilles took tremendous craftsmanship and attention to detail.

While obviously part of the same family, the differences between the two grilles are distinct. Whereas the Volvo FH has a single grille with the hexagonal design combined, the FH16 has a metal-over-black design that creates a 3D effect. “Both grilles have been well received by customers, but the FH16 grille has been particularly popular,” says Ismail.

In many ways, it’s been a labour of love. I guess you could call it a piece of Volvo art.

Ismail Ovacik, Chief Designer Exterior

Ismail Ovacik

Ismail Ovacik, Chief Designer Exterior, Volvo Trucks, has been with Volvo Trucks for nine years.

The grilles on the Volvo FH and FH16 were the first of a new generation when the updated trucks were launched in 2012. The designs formed the template for those that followed on the other updated Volvo truck models.

According to Ismail, the FH grille is one of the largest single plastic tools in the trucking industry. “In many ways, it’s been a labour of love. I guess you could call it a piece of Volvo art."

Ismail Ovacik

Title: Chief Designer Exterior at Volvo Group Truck Technology.
Age: 37
Years at Volvo: Nine.
Workplace: The European design studio at Volvo Group Trucks Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden.

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