Volvo Trucks recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of the industry changing Volvo FH. The truck was designed with a revolutionary cab and a unique driver focus. In 1993, it was the most technically advanced truck and a quarter of a century later, it remains an innovative leader, especially in areas that directly benefits drivers. With added ground-breaking solutions in environmental care and productivity, the Volvo FH has changed the world of trucking.
Since its introduction in Malaysia in April 2017, the Volvo FH has set the new standard for premium heavy haulage. Customers such as Chip Jun Sdn Bhd, Central Kargo Sdn Bhd and Haiweima Sdn Bhd were quick to purchase the trucks as soon as they hit the market.
Mats Nilsson, Managing Director, Volvo Malaysia, said: “25 years down the road, it is easy to see how close to our hearts the Volvo FH is. It has become the industry standard for long-haul trucks, a prime representation of the innovation and passion that we put into our work at Volvo Trucks.”
Claes Nilsson, President Volvo Trucks, sees the Volvo FH as the backbone of Volvo Trucks when it comes to image as well as creating profitability for customers and offering a state of the art workplace for the drivers. He recalls how the bold introduction in 1993 marked the start of a very successful time for Volvo Trucks.
“We were coming towards the end of a recession but decided to make a big push. This proved a real success. We launched the FH at the right time and had the most attractive product when the economy and transport market turned upwards again,” he says.
The first version was based on a new chassis whose dynamic design facilitated flexible solutions for different transport applications. It was, however, the new cab that signalled how the Volvo FH was special. Volvo Trucks early on decided to put the driver at centre stage and more than 1,500 drivers took part in extensive clinics. The end-result — a safer and comfortable cab that created a whole new driving and resting experience.
There were no less than three cab facelifts between 1993 and 2008. In 2012, the all-new Volvo FH was launched with a completely new cab and an integrated climate system I-park Cool created premium comfort. And features like Volvo Dynamic Steering (2013) led to easier, safer, more stable and precise driving while reducing strain injuries.
From day one, the Volvo FH is a forerunner in safety. Volvo Trucks was the first truck brand to offer airbag (1995) and introduced Front Underrun Protection System (FUPS) in 1996, ten years before it became a legal requirement.
Alongside driver comfort, safety is the guiding star when designing the cab. During development, the truck was subjected to thousands of simulated collision tests and around a hundred real crash tests. Collision-absorbing beams and doors are made of dual-phase steel and the body panelling is made from the strongest available steel.
The revolutionary gearbox I-Shift (2001) is a benchmark in the industry and has evolved to meet different demands and needs. The I-Shift Dual Clutch is especially beneficial for regional and long-haul transports on hilly and curvy routes. All gear-changes are precisely timed without loss of power or torque, which improves driver comfort and allows higher average speed. For construction and heavy transports, I-Shift with crawler gears is ideal. It permits the truck to start from a standstill with loads of up to 325 tonnes and drive as slow as 0.5km/h, which makes precision manoeuvres in tough terrain easier to perform.
Environmental care is one of Volvo Trucks’ core values and a major leap came in 2017 with the Volvo FH LNG. This gas-powered truck delivers the same performance as other FH trucks but it could run on either biogas, which cuts CO2 by up to 100 per cent, or natural gas that reduces CO2 emissions by 20 per cent compared with diesel.
The Volvo FH is the only model to be named truck of the year three times — 1994, 2000 and 2014 — and almost one million units were sold.
“There are so many possibilities to create fantastic improvements. Without revealing too much, it’s safe to say that the coming years will be even more exciting than the first twenty-five,” Claes Nilsson finishes.