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Improved VHD Deserves Better Sales, Volvo Says


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Heavy Duty Trucking (HDT)  /  January 30, 2018

LAS VEGAS – Volvo Trucks’ VHD model has gotten a new interior and LED headlamps to make it a more desirable choice for operators of dump, mixer, refuse and other rough-service vehicles, and there’ll be a renewed emphasis on marketing the vehicle, according to John Felder, the company’s vocational segment manager.

LED headlamps, announced last week during the World of Concrete show in Las Vegas, will provide more forward illumination for drivers, part of Volvo’s long-standing safety-first orientation. LEDs (light-emitting diodes) use less energy and last longer than older-style halogens and incandescent bulbs, he said. LEDs will also better resist the vibration experienced by vocational trucks.

However, LEDs burn so coolly, they don’t melt winter snow and ice that accumulates on them, “and that’s a drawback,” Felder said. So product planners are seeking versions wired to heat up glass under such conditions.

The interior has a new overall design, including gauges, switches, larger color display screens, and a multi adjustable steering column, he said. Taken from the recently refreshed VN highway tractors, the interiors were laid out with input from 2,000 professional drivers who were interviewed as part of the design process, Felder said.

The VHD’s gauges are larger and have more legible faces than before; panel-mounted switches are closer to the driver, while additional switches are on the steering wheel’s rims. And seats are better contoured and easier to adjust.

The tilt-telescoping column and steering wheel continue, and an additional tilt mechanism now allows further adjustment of the column just below the wheel. Volvo calls it the Position Perfect wheel.

Vocational trucks have long been the specialty of Mack, a sister company under Volvo Group, while the VN highway series has traditionally been Volvo’s strong point. Felder believes there’s no reason the VHD can’t do better in the vocational market, especially with the improvements.

“It’s a great truck,” he said while standing in the shadow of a VHD dumper in Volvo’s booth at World of Concrete. ”It’s just not noticed. We’re going to change that.”

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