The new tractor made its debut April 19, the day before the start of ExpoCam, a major Canadian truck show. The VNR will replace the VNM, which has been a Volvo mainstay since the 1990s.
VNR’s powertrain will be anchored by the company’s 11- and 13-liter diesel engines and the Volvo I-Shift automated manual transmission. The company is also considering a natural gas option — probably the Cummins Westport ISX 12G — in the near future for fleets working in areas with stringent environmental requirements.
“It is a cool truck that will meet tomorrow’s demand,” VTNA President Göran Nyberg told about 390 guests, including Volvo dealers, customers, staff and trucking reporters.
Nyberg said the truck offers versatility, efficiency and connectivity.
The VNR will be available for order beginning April 24.
Magnus Koeck, vice president of marketing and brand management, said likely applications for the VNR include private fleets, tank truck and less-than-truckload carriers and intermodal drayage providers.
The last VNM will be assembled in late July at Volvo's Dublin, Va., plant. Then there will be a two-week retooling period and new VNRs will start rolling down the production line on Aug. 14, said Jason Spence, a product marketing manager for Volvo.
The first deliveries are expected to be made in September. Options for cab configuration are a daycab and 41-inch and 61-inch sleeper berth models.
Koeck said designers worked to maximize driver comfort and amenities so as to help fleets retain current drivers and recruit new ones.
Nyberg said his new truck is far more than an incremental change to the VNM.
“The whole front package is different, the interior and the steering column are new. We’ve tightened the hood and the bumpers for better aerodynamics. A lot of details have changed,” he said.
Although introduced in Canada, Nyberg said he anticipates selling the VNR in the United States and Mexico, too.
The VNR will include Volvo’s 6x2 power configuration with a lift axle. Many Canadian provincial governments have regulations against 6x2s in certain cases.
He said VTNA executives are “in talks with Canada to solve the 6x2 problem.”
For a tractor, 6x2 refers to the vehicle’s six wheel-end positions, two of which are powered by the engine.
Volvo is a strong proponent of using a 6x2, in contrast to the more traditional 6x4, arguing that the lift axle is a good way to improve fuel economy.
Koeck also spoke about mileage, saying that the new VNR incorporates some of Volvo’s work on the SuperTruck program from the U.S. Department of Energy. Much of the tractor design and shaping, especially the headlamps, comes from SuperTruck, Phase 1, Koeck said.
Company executives expect the I-Shift transmission to dominate the choices made by customers, but said an Eaton Corp. classic manual also will be an option.
To emphasize the importance of regional haul among truck makers, Volvo's announcement came just hours before Navistar Inc. moved out its new RH tractor. When Navistar introduced its International LT linehaul tractor in October, the company said a new regional haul model would be following soon. Navistar Senior Vice President for Sales and Marketing Jeff Sass was at ExpoCam on April 20 for the RH unveiling.