Most Americans are unaware that VW has been deeply involved in commercial truck production since the early eighties. The flagship is the Volkswagen Constellation, the only advanced European style heavy truck designed to meet the low price needs and operating requirements of developing countries.
The 13 to 45 ton Constellation is available as a straight truck (called “rigids” in the global market) and tractor, in 4x2, 6x2, 6x4, 8x2 and 10x4 configurations.
The “Constellation” was introduced in August 2005 by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles for the South American market, with plans for export to Africa, Turkey, Russia, the Middle East, and China.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has been successful in South America since 1981, building dependable and affordable 5-45 ton light, medium, and heavy trucks in Brazil (Volkswagen took over Chrysler’s Brazilian truck plant in 1980, and moved into a new plant in Resende in 1996).
The “Constellation” was designed by Volkswagen in Wolfsburg, Germany.
- Modern design
- Attractive and contemporary styling
- Excellent driver ergonomics
- Large sleeper cabin (2 meter long bed)
- High roof (a 1.95 meter person can stand in the cabin)
- 6 year anti-corrosion cab warranty
- Onboard trip computer
- Designed to accept manual, AMT and automatic transmissions
- Engine electronic management system with Volkswagen VCO-950 diagnostic tool
- Available with “Volksnet” vehicle location tracking and “real-time” information system
The Constellation was intended to replace the Worker range. However due to the Worker’s continued popularity, several models remain in production.
On the light truck side, the Volkswagen “Delivery” range provides a competitive light truck alternative to the Japanese brands (One wonders why Volkswagen doesn’t enter America’s lucrative light truck market with the “Delivery”, powered by the ISF-derived EPA2010-capable Cummins Euro-6 4.5-liter 4-cylinder ISB).
Originally, the entire range was powered by engines from Brazil-based MWM International* from 3-liter 4-cylinder engines up to the 9.3-liter 367 horsepower VW-badged NGD370 (International HT-570).
* MWM was founded in Brazil in1953 by MWM gmbH (Motoren-Werke Mannheim – acquired by CAT in 2010) and Knorr-Bremse. MWM was purchased by Klöckner-Humboldt-Deutz AG (KHD) in 1985, and sold to Navistar International in 2005. MWM began contract manufacture of MAN 6.9-liter D08 engines in 2011.
MWM is a major diesel engine supplier for light vehicles in Brazil including the Chevrolet Blazer, Nissan Xterra and Ford F-250.
For 2012, MAN* has completely revised the powerplant offering. Now engines range from the 150-160hp 3.8-liter Cummins ISF, 190hp 4.6-liter 4-cylinder MAN D0834 and 280hp 6.9-liter 6-cylinder MAN D0836 (contract-produced by MWM) to the 330-400hp 8.9-liter Cummins ISL.
* MAN, majority owned by VW, purchased VW’s Brazil commercial truck unit in 2008. Under the agreement, the VW truck range remains intact and continues under the VW brand.
Transmissions are ZF and Eaton synchronized units, front axles are Sifco-produced Dana units* and rear axles are Meritor.
* Dana signed an agreement with SIFCO SA in 2011, investing $150 million to acquire the distribution rights for commercial vehicle steer axle systems (I-beams, steer arms, and knuckles). Dana is now responsible for all customer relationships, including marketing, sales, engineering, and assembly. Customers in the Brazilian market include Agrale, Ford, Iveco, MAN, Mercedes Benz, Scania, and Volvo. SIFCO provides selected assets and assistance to Dana.
Note: The Westport Axle facility in Allentown assembles axles for Volvo’s Macungie Mack plant from components produced by SIFCO in Brazil. Westport and SIFCO are both subsidiaries of Grupo Brasil. No U.S.-produced axle components for Mack-branded Volvo trucks.