Customers and other visitors at the Volvo Trucks New River Valley manufacturing plant in Virginia now can experience a fully equipped Volvo VHD – in modified pickup truck form. The bright orange one-of-a-kind Volvo VHD chassis has a full-size crew cab and a pickup truck bed. The four-door five-seat vehicle is powered by an U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 2010-certified 500-hp Volvo D13 engine and features an I-Shift transmission.
Patrick Collignon, vice president and general manager at the New River Valley facility, says the team of Volvo engineers and production operators behind the VHD pickup is proof of what a talented work force can accomplish. “The New River Valley region has the workforce, the academic centers and the communities to support Volvo and our commitment to innovation,” Collignon says.
Volvo feels the VHD pickup is a powerful sales tool that makes getting around the large New River Valley site unforgettable for customers and visitors; they get a firsthand sense of Volvo truck comfort and performance as they tour the facility or are transported to and from the local hotels and airport.
“We spend a lot of time educating customers about our technology – how it works and the value it brings,” says Ron Huibers, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Volvo Trucks North America. “But explaining how impressive the I-Shift technology is, for example, doesn’t replace the driving experience. The new VHD with I-Shift pickup allows people who are not professional drivers to experience the technology for themselves.”
In addition to providing a ride-and-drive option for customers and visitors to the Volvo New River Valley plant, the VHD pickup will be an eye-catching attraction at trade shows, parades and other special events. With a cab height of 11 feet, the VHD truck dwarfs a conventional pickup. “This truck is like a pickup that’s been seriously pumping iron,” Collignon says. “Everyone who sees it wants a photo.”