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Australia a proving ground for Volvo


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Steve Skinner, Owner/Driver  /  June 20, 2016

Volvo’s global head of trucks says Australia is an important market in more ways than one

Australia is a unique market for Volvo in a couple of ways.

For one thing, it’s the only country in the world where group products Volvo, Mack, and UD are sold together.

More significant, though, is the fact that much of Australia has the unique combination of hot climate, rough roads and heavy weights.

To take an extreme example, where else in the world is a prime mover expected to haul 300 tonnes in 45 degree heat on corrugated dirt roads?

It’s as tough a testing ground for global product development as you’ll get.

"Australia has been a very important market in terms of developing new features and testing a lot of new things," says Claes Nilsson, global president of Volvo Trucks.

"So that’s been one of the important aspects of Australia for us, in addition to being an important market in itself.

"We are in more than 140 countries, so each country is important to us.

"In Australia we have had a very successful history … our image, our market share, our performance there is important.

"If you look at Asia-Pacific, Australia is definitely one of the two or three most important countries in that region."

Nilsson was speaking with Owner//Driver during a recent trip to Sweden courtesy of Volvo.

If 40-plus degree heat is a big issue for trucking in the remote heart of Australia, Sweden has the opposite problem.

In the remote north temperatures can plunge below -30 degrees. So if your truck breaks down in winter, you could die.

Nilsson rates this as one of the factors behind the global success of Swedish brands Volvo and Scania – having to develop premium products that can cope with the climate in the Nordic countries and northern Europe in general.

"And like in Australia, we have heavy loads and long vehicles," Nilsson says. "So that has meant that our vehicles have been developed to withstand a lot of challenges from a quality point of view."

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