Volvo targets heavy haul with new VNX

On a day appropriately punctuated with snow flurries, Volvo hosted a press event to introduce its new VNX heavy-haul tractor (and to show off the jobsite-based VHD). But, given the work-specific nature of both, specialty trailers and truck bodies were also featured much more prominently than on a typical truck showcase. Learn a little about Volvo's latest, and see the gallery from the vehicles on the test track—and in the dirt.

DUBLIN, VA. Filling the heavy-haul product gap between its VNL highway tractor and its VHD vocational truck, Volvo Trucks North America has introduced a new VNX, available in daycab and sleeper configurations with integrated Volvo powertrains or high-horsepower Cummins X15 engines paired with Eaton transmissions.

“The revitalization of our new VNX model shows we’re capable of handling heavy haul to support customers operating forestry and logging, heavy tanker operations, heavy flatbed and lowboy applications, and B-Trains,” said Chris Stadler, VTNA’s product marketing manager for regional haul. “Heavy haul is not a very big market but it is a very specialized market – there is no typical application or operation in heavy haul. There are different dilemmas and limitations to deal with. So our purpose [with the new VNX] is to bring more value to this market; to bring VNL features into the VNX and give customers more value than what they expect.”

Approved gross combination weight ratings (GCWR) range from 125,000 to 160,000 lbs., with ratings of up to 225,000 lbs. available with application approval and appropriate components.

There are range of optional steer axles, lift axles, tridem drive axles, and longer fifth-wheel slides available help meet a diverse range of weight distribution requirements, the OEM noted, including: 6x4 tandem, 8x4 tandem, and 8x6 tridem configurations; front axle ratings range from 16,000 to 20,000 lbs.; up to 445 tires to match front axle load capacity; rear axles ranging from 46,000 to 55,000 lbs.; and a “premium” rear heavy-haul suspension that ranges up to 52,000 lbs. Dual steering gears also help provide better maneuverability while under a heavy load, VTNA said.

The standard powertrain package for the VNX is a Volvo D13 engine with 500 hp and 1,850 lb.-ft. of torque, paired with the 13- or 14-speed Volvo I-Shift automated manual transmission (AMT) with crawler gears. The tractor can also be spec’d with the Cummins X15 Performance Series engines, with ratings of up to 605 hp and 2,050 lb.-ft. of torque, paired with either an Eaton Ultra Shift Plus AMT or Eaton manual gearbox.

“The new VNX is a heavy-haul work tool for demanding jobs, and it gives professional drivers a comfortable working environment for performing at their best,” he explained. “The workspace was designed for maximum comfort and productivity, while the sleeper was designed to offer drivers a calm, restful space for their hours off the road.”

The VNX is available for order and goes into production this May.

VHD push

For trucks used primarily on the jobsite, Volvo continues to offer the VHD line. Volvo has focused on mixers, roll-offs and dump bodies with the VHD, but is looking to expand into other applications, explained John Felder, Volvo Trucks North America product marketing manager – vocational trucks.

“We’re making the vocational market more of a focal point, working with body builders and truck suppliers to make sure we understand each other in a better way,” Felder told Trailer/Body Builders.

Volvo has worked with five different body builders on a new set of marketing trucks, with the aim of learning more about the various markets, applications, and regions, he noted.

Felder added that Volvo’s reputation for quality, long-haul highway trucks is now providing benefits in the off-road market as customers are increasingly interested in both safety and driver comfort.

“Being on a jobsite, you’ve got to be able to communicate—you got to be able to see and hear,” he said, before explaining a range of cab features, part of the recent VHD interior redesign.

He also emphasized the jobsite advantages of the Volvo I-Shift automated manual transmission with a low-speed creeper gear.

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