Volvo is continuing to renew its thrust on the construction segment with the introduction of a new truck.

Story by: Bhargav TS

Photos: Bhargav TS & Volvo Trucks

Having entered the construction segment in India last year with the introduction of FMX 460 with 22 cu. m. body, FMX 460 with 33 cu. m. body, FM 440 prime mover with tip trailer, and FM 460 6×4 puller, Volvo Trucks has renewed its thrust by launching a new FM 380 8×4 truck. Commanding close to 90 per cent of the heavy-duty mining truck segment, the company, with the launch of the FM 380 8×4 is looking at redefining the Indian construction segment. Betting on the government push for infrastructure, basis the economic reforms like GST, the Swedish CV major is tapping into its experience and expertise. Well-versed with the global trends and practices because of its participation in most global construction and mining truck markets, Volvo is also applying its understanding of the Indian market where it has been present since 1996. Entering the Indian market in 1996, Volvo has come a long way in understanding the local market dynamics with the help of its distributor and partner (at the truck and engine level) Eicher. With highway construction projects rising 70 per cent to an all-time annual high of 7,400 km (valued at Rs.1.2 trillion) in FY2017-18 when compared to projects worth 4,300 km (valued at Rs.59,000 crore) in FY2016-17, the company has equipped the new FM 380 8×4 with a BSIV emission compliant 13-litre engine and an I-Shift auto transmission with 12 forward and four reverse gears.

Producing 380 hp at 1400-1900 rpm and a peak torque of 1900 Nm at 1000-1400 rpm, the FM 380 8×4 could be had with a 23 cu. m. U-body or a 19.5 cu. m. rock body as per the application need. Eyeing various irrigation projects, airport projects, metro projects, and road construction projects among others, Volvo Trucks, with the addition of the FM 380 8×4 to its construction trucks range is promising world-class machines that are capable of supporting the time-bound and speedy completion of infra and construction projects. Looking at the FM 380 8×4 playing a key role, Volvo is confident that its construction truck portfolio is truly versatile and result-oriented. This, especially in the wake of the large-sized projects being awarded. Expressed Vinod Aggarwal, MD & CEO, VE Commercial Vehicles, “In the construction segment, the Centre has been paying a lot of attention to large infrastructure projects and their speedy completion. With large-sized projects being doled out, operators will need bigger and more reliable trucks that can achieve higher uptime.” “Customers are increasingly becoming conscious about the cost per tonne, and about the total cost of ownership over its lifecycle,” he mentioned

Banking on the ability of its construction trucks to offer superior performance, reliability and an ability to clock the most uptime, Volvo Trucks is confident of convincing the customer against the initial deterrents like high acquisition cost. Confident of convincing the customer of what he stands to gain by opting for a Volvo construction truck, the company is pulling out all the stops by aptly highlighting the advantages. With the trucks said to cost significantly higher than the machines that have been used for the job until now, the addition of the FM 380 8×4 to the construction truck range Volvo offers, the operator stands to gain in terms of performance, safety, reliability and profitability. Making some of the best-regarded trucks the world over, Volvo Trucks, with the introduction of the FM 380 8×4 in India, is highlighting trucks that are robust and reliable. Featuring a strong chassis and the most modern driveline, the FM 380 is part of the company’s global line-up. It is capable of meeting the demands of the customers as per their needs. Meeting the highest quality and safety standards, the FM 380 8×4, according to Dinakar B, Senior Vice President — Sales, Marketing & Aftermarket, Volvo Trucks India, marks the flow of innovations and a constant urge to go further. To deliver ‘customer success’.

A dandy machine the FM 380 is. Resulting from Volvo’s participation in most global markets with access to best practices in on-road, long-haul, mining and construction trucking segments, the FM 380, like its FMX counterpart, looks bold and contemporary. Claimed to be one of the most versatile Volvo trucks yet, the FM 380 sports aerodynamic lines and soft curves. Distinctive looking, confident, friendly, and every inch a Volvo, the FM 380 comes with a four-point suspended cab. Riding on 12.00-20 tyres, the truck incorporates a modern interior that is well-engineered and offers the driver the necessary comfort. Well put together and economic in nature, the cabin with large glass area is airy. Presenting the driver with a good view of the surrounding, it is the strategically placed mirrors, which ensure minimisation of blind spots. Engineered to work under arduous operating conditions, and where large quantities and heavy material handling is involved, the FM 380 with the rock body may prove to be just the right solution. Built to swiftly, efficiently transport large and heavy loads without getting bogged down, the FM 380, with the new higher capacity rock body, is set to offer superior operational profitability. The U-body FM 380, at the other end, offers superior operational profitability in the area of soil movement. Averred Dinakar B, “Expectations (of construction truck operators) are high. There is always a curiosity about what challenge would come next. Looking at our journey, it is apparent that building trucks are becoming more and more complex.” Stating that commitments grow, and also considerations, responsibilities and requirements, Dinkar B averred, “At Volvo Trucks, we are ready to face the challenges, and to overcome them.”

Claiming to raise the standards of productivity, efficiency and reliability in the construction segment with the launch of FM 380 8×4 and the first-of-its-kind FMX 460 8×4 19.5 cu. m. granite body, Volvo Trucks is assuring customers of higher operational efficiency. Keen to get its truck operators to save more, and to support timely completion of projects, the company is looking at opportunities in road construction projects, hydel projects, stone quarries, marble quarries, granite quarries and more. It is wooing customers with the promise of the lowest cost per tonne, and an ability to carry more load per trip. Packing the best tech in the field, according to Dinkar B, the company is also looking at large projects like the linking of rivers, smart cities and border road development. Such projects, said Dinkar B, would need considerable tech support. Banking on a comprehensive after-sales service, the company, opined Aggarwal, is engaging with its customers. “At Volvo, we do not stop after producing high quality, premium trucks,” he mentioned. To ensure that our customers get a high return on their investments, quipped Aggarwal, we are providing initiatives like driver training.

As part of the driver initiatives at Volvo Trucks in India, each and every driver of a Volvo truck is trained at the company’s training institute at Bengaluru. He is trained to extract the best efficiency from the machine. He is also trained to communicate with the machine, which has a number of electronics on board. The driver is trained to schedule maintenance, read errors, do preliminary diagnostics from behind the wheel, and conduct various other activities. To facilitate safe and comfortable operation, the cabin of the FM 380, apart from being airy and well-engineered, is ergonomically spot-on. Providing an ambience that is no second to a luxury to a luxury car, the cabin of the truck makes for a good working environment. There’s a pleasant use of colours. The dash is well laid out. The instruments that provide vital information are easy to read. The customisable switches ensure that the driver does not wear out quickly. The suspended seat offers excellent support, range and legroom. It can be adjusted for forwarding and backward movement. It is also adjustable for height.

The I-Shift transmission as standard provides the driver with the convenience of the clutchless drive. Designed to save fuel and minimise frictional losses, the transmission times every gear change precisely. A combination of mechanical and electronic wizardry, the transmission in communication with the engine through CAN-bus and Volvo EMS ensures a combination of performance and economy that no amount of driver skill could achieve. Not consistently, and over a long operating cycle. The system ensures that the engine works at its most efficient rpm, whether in the economy or performance mode. Travelling downhill, the I-Roll disengages the engine and leads to a fuel saving of up to two-percent. Based on a ‘classic’ unsynchronised manual gearbox (has low internal losses and a compact design, therefore), the I-Shift transmission takes into consideration information such as speed, weight, road grade and torque demand. Mentioned Dinkar B, “Every Volvo truck we sell, is with an I-Shift gearbox. With I-Shift, customers experience better productivity, ease of driving, and better efficiency.”

A brief drive of the FM 380 on the company’s test track at Bangalore was an eye-opener. The truck smoothly moves away from a standstill. With small increments in speed, the transmission seamlessly shifts ups, indicating a travel through the cogs on the digital readout of the instrument console. The Volvo dynamic steering aids manoeuvrability and the I-Shift makes easy work of driving the truck. Both reflect the technological prowess of the truck. They also signal the advantage the truck offers in terms of superior driveability, performance, safety, comfort, and efficiency. Pointing at profitable trucking, albeit beyond the initial deterrents, the FM 380 8×4 is representative of the strategy Volvo Trucks is quietly and firmly driving in place, in India. It is doing so in the wake of the opportunities it is identifying. Banking on the government thrust for infrastructure development, Volvo Trucks stands to gain from having Group entities like Volvo CE. 

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