Volvo Trucks South Africa has introduced four new truck ranges to the local market. These have a strong focus on the driver environment, safety and productivity.
The launch of the four new-generation extra-heavy commercial trucks – the Volvo FH, FH16, FM and FMX – is the biggest in the company’s history.
“Our aim first is to be our customers’ ultimate business partner. Secondly we are to help attract best drivers in this competitive market,” says Volvo Group Southern Africa VP Marcus Hörberg.
“We are really proud of this big forward-looking investment in the future of our company. Moreover, we are inspired by the success of our customers.”
All the new models are locally assembled at the company’s plant in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.
To enable this, Volvo Trucks invested more than R2-million in upgrading the tooling and equipment at this facility.
Amid the travel constraints induced by the Covid-19 pandemic, Volvo Trucks also invested in the installation of IT equipment and technology. This allowed Volvo Trucks’ global experts to remotely support the South African team.
An expected growing demand for transport is putting pressure on the availability of skilled drivers worldwide.
To help customers recruit and retain the best drivers, Volvo Trucks says it focused on developing the new trucks to make them safer, more efficient and more attractive working tools for drivers.
“Drivers who handle their truck safely and efficiently are an invaluable asset to any transport company. Responsible driving behaviour can help reduce carbon emissions and fuel costs, as well as the risk of accidents, injury and unplanned downtime,” says Hörberg.
To this end, the new Volvo FM and Volvo FMX have a new cab, as well as many of the same instrument display functions as their larger Volvo counterparts.
Their interior volume has been increased by up to one cubic meter, providing better comfort and more working room. The visibility is also improved, owing to larger windows, a lowered door line and new mirrors.
The steering wheel is equipped with a neck tilt function allowing the driving position to be individually adjusted.
The lower bed in the sleeper cab is positioned higher up than previously, affording greater comfort and creating additional storage space underneath.
The day cab has a new 40-litre storage compartment with interior lighting on the back wall.
Cab comfort is further enhanced through reinforced insulation that helps shut out cold, heat and noise disturbance, while a sensor-controlled climate unit with a carbon filter promotes good air quality.
The driver’s area also has a new interface for information and communication, including a 12-inch digital instrument display.
There is also a supplementary 9-inch side display available for infotainment, navigation, transport information and camera monitoring.
The functions can be controlled via buttons on the steering wheel, by voice control, or via the touchscreen and display control panel.
“Safety is in the Volvo DNA and the safety features of our new truck range reflect our commitment to increasing safety for all road users,” says Hörberg.
Safety has been further improved with functions such as adaptive high beam headlights in the Volvo FH and Volvo FH16.
The system improves safety for all road users by automatically disabling selected segments of the high beam. This happens the truck approaches oncoming traffic or another vehicle from behind.
Driving is also facilitated by an improved adaptive cruise control system for speeds down to zero km/h and downhill control that automatically activates the service brakes when extra brake force is needed to maintain constant downhill speed.
The electronically controlled brake system, which is a prerequisite for safety features such as forward collision warning with emergency brake and electronic stability control, now comes as standard on the new trucks.
Volvo dynamic steering, with the safety systems lane-keeping assist and stability assist, is standard on certain models, or available as an option.
Visibility is further improved by the addition of a camera on the passenger side that provides a complementary view of the side of the truck on the side display. This feature is standard on all models.