Volvo's new VNL now available for order

Trucking news and briefs for Monday, April 15, 2024:

Volvo opens order book for revamped VNL

Volvo VNL 2024 revampVolvo Trucks is holding immersive dealer and customer launch events throughout the summer at the Volvo Trucks Customer Center in Dublin, Virginia. The Volvo Trucks Customer Center includes a customer experience track, recently expanded to three miles, offering a fully immersive driving experience of the full range of Volvo trucks.Volvo Trucks

Sales have officially started for the all-new Volvo VNL, a revamped truck the company noted is “90% new.”

Since the announcement of the revamped Volvo VNL model in January, dealerships have been participating in extensive competency development, with e-learning and in-person instructor-led courses from Volvo Trucks Academy, to be fully trained to support customers even before the trucks begin to arrive at dealerships. Production will start later this summer with customer deliveries beginning later this year. Demo trucks will start arriving at dealerships in the late summer.

“The Volvo VNL has long been the flagship model series at Volvo Trucks North America and is the premier long-haul truck in the United States and Canada,” said Volvo Trucks North America President Peter Voorhoeve. “We wanted to set a new standard for fuel efficiency, safety, driver productivity, connectivity and customer uptime and to transform everything about the future of the heavy-duty trucking industry. We’re confident we’ve done that. Our customers have expressed that they are eager to deploy them into their fleet, and we are excited to be opening the sales books to get those trucks slotted and ready for production.”

[Related: Volvo shows off updated, 'about 90%' new, next-generation VNL]

Volvo said the new VNL “is revolutionizing the trucking industry by setting the new standard on all fronts,” from fuel efficiency and safety features to optimized uptime and more.

Volvo VNL early 2024 production modelAttendees of the Truckload Carriers Association's annual conference in Nashville, Tennessee, the last full week of March got a closer look at this early production model of the new VNL.Todd Dills

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New Volvo VNL interior and dashKeep tuned for more from a walkthrough some of the updates to both interior and exterior and more visuals from the VNL on display at the TCA event.Todd Dills

Volvo is also introducing spec’ing packaging to simplify the process. Giving prospective buyers a way to explore the features and trim levels of the new VNL, Volvo has developed a new, state-of-the-art online configurator for the Volvo VNL. The configurator provides detailed information on the features and benefits of each trim level and cab option, as well as a 360-degree view of the truck interior and exterior. 

The new model is packaged into four exterior and interior trim levels -- Core, Edge, Edge Black and Ultimate -- with six cab configurations, each designed to fit customers’ preference, brand identity, and operational use. Three cab configurations – the VNL860, VNL840, and VNL300 – are available to order immediately, while the remaining configurations will follow soon after.

Volvo Trucks is holding immersive dealer and customer launch events throughout the summer at the Volvo Trucks Customer Center in Dublin, Virginia. The Volvo Trucks Customer Center includes a customer experience track, recently expanded to three miles, offering a fully immersive driving experience of the full range of Volvo trucks. Customers can work with their local dealers to walk through the new configurator to design the ideal truck for their fleet,  then visit the Volvo Trucks Customer Center for an opportunity to experience the new VNL firsthand, the company said.

[Related: Quick spin: 'Beginning of a new era' with the revamped VNL]

Daimler recalling 29,000 trucks for steer axle issue that could damage tires

Daimler Trucks North America is recalling slightly more than 29,000 trucks in which the steer axle wheel flanges may crack and cause damage to the tires, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

Last July, DTNA said it received a field report that described that several trucks had experienced flange cracking or breaking. Over the course of July and August, additional field reports and warranty claims were received that all involved similar allegations.

These initial reports were investigated and eventually closed without action in October 2023 based on information that indicated the condition was detectable to drivers, no reports of any sudden air loss from tires or any other safety-relevant outcomes, DTNA noted. Additionally, corrective action had been taken by the supplier, which corrected its machining parameters to meet specification.

DTNA continued to monitor the issue and didn’t receive another report until February when a fleet customer “reported the presence of a cracked flange around the wheel and a failed tire, but it was unclear whether the cracked flange preceded or contributed to the tire failure or not.” From June 20, 2023, to March 14, 2024, DTNA said it received 23 warranty claims and 15 field reports for the issue and, on March 28, decided to initiate a recall. DTNA believes the issue is isolated to trucks produced at its Mexico facility.

[Related: Toll upgrades include open-road option | Volvo truck plan on way in Mexico]

“Based on the variance in the field experience between trucks produced at DTNA’s Mexico facility, which use wheels produced at the supplier’s Mexico facility, as compared to trucks with wheels produced at other facilities, DTNA’s best understanding at present is that the defect is limited to trucks produced at the Mexico facility,” the company said. “DTNA continues to monitor the performance of wheels produced by the same supplier at other facilities.”

The recall includes certain model year 2023-‘24 Freightliner 108SD, 114SD, Business Class M2 and Cascadia trucks; 2024 Western Star 57X models; and 2023 Freightliner 122SD vehicles. It’s estimated that just 1% of the recall population has the defect.

The remedy is currently under development. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed June 2. Owners can contact DTNA customer service at 800-547-0712 with recall number FL999. NHTSA’s recall number is 24V-250.

[Related: More than 116K Kenworth, Peterbilt trucks recall]

Arkansas debuts new transportation information dashboard

The Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) has launched a new interactive dashboard designed to keep drivers informed about pavement conditions across the state, the status of construction jobs, safety data, and other metrics under the “Transportation Performance” umbrella.

The Transportation Performance Dashboard can be accessed here.

The dashboard features gauges showing bridge condition, Interstate condition, and National Highway condition ratings -- along with the evaluation process and what each rating means.

“These ratings are determined using federal standards,” said ARDOT Director Lorie Tudor. “Seventy-five percent of our budget goes toward taking care of the roads we already have. We’re proud of our pavement preservation efforts across the state and are excited to have a tool that shares where we stand in that continuous effort.”

The dashboard also includes the latest roadway safety data and an interactive map of construction jobs across the state.

“This is a great tool to promote transparency and show the public how their tax dollars are being spent,” Tudor added. “We hope to continue adding features to this dashboard over time.”

[Related: Owners call out the worst roads in America, take two]

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