"When we first introduced the I-Shift, many said that it would not be successful in this market," said Göran Nyberg, president, Volvo Trucks North America
Volvo Trucks North America recently delivered the 100,000th truck equipped with its groundbreaking I-Shift automated manual transmission (AMT). The landmark truck, a Volvo VNL 670 model, was presented to Watkins & Shepard Trucking during a brief reception at Transport Equipment, a Volvo Trucks dealer in Missoula, Montana.
Originally introduced in Europe in 2001, the Volvo I-Shift has had a significant impact on the global truck market. To date, Volvo has sold more than 575,000 I-Shifts globally. In 2007, Volvo introduced the I-Shift in North America, becoming the first truck OEM to bring an integrated AMT to the market. Volvo made the I-Shift standard on all Volvo-powered models in 2013. In 2015, I-Shift penetration in North America reached a record 83 percent.
"When we first introduced the I-Shift, many said that it would not be successful in this market," said Göran Nyberg, president, Volvo Trucks North America. "Yet thanks to the significant efficiency, performance and productivity benefits the I-Shift delivers to our customers, we're celebrating the delivery of the 100,000th I-Shift-equipped truck."
Driver Rick Candler was selected by Watkins & Shepard CEO Ray Kuntz and President Walt Ainsworth to receive the VNL 670 model, in part due to his nearly 28 years of service with the company. Several company leaders were on hand as the keys were presented to Candler, including Ainsworth and Dwayne Hill, maintenance manager. The truck was customized with Candler's name on the driver's door, a hand-painted decal recognizing its significance and a one-of-a-kind custom silver shifter.
"We are honored to accept delivery of the 100,000th I-Shift-equipped truck," Ainsworth said. "In addition to the efficiency and productivity gains we've seen, we're also finding that the I-Shift makes it easier to hire, train and retain drivers."
The 12-speed I-Shift is a key component of Volvo's integrated powertrain. Equipped with sensors to identify factors such as load, road grade and more, the I-Shift helps ensure the truck is in the right gear for the conditions.
The I-Shift is also the enabling component of Volvo's XE – eXceptional Efficiency – powertrain packages, which help improve fuel efficiency by lowering engine cruise rpm. This concept, called "downspeeding," allows XE-package-equipped trucks to reduce engine rpm at cruising speeds by 200 rpm or more, providing drivers a fuel efficiency improvement of up to 3 percent.
With no traditional clutch pedal to operate, the Volvo I-Shift helps improve driver attraction and retention by reducing fatigue during the work day. The I-Shift also contributes to safety, as drivers are able to maintain focus on the road ahead.
We've met Goran Nyberg, President of Volvo Trucks North America at Truck World 2016 that took place in mid-April in Toronto where his company presented an impressive line of new products such as engines D-11, D-13, D-13 with turbo compound and D-16; new generation of I-Shift, Volvo I See – smart cruise control that "memorize" up to 4,500 routes and some more. We've asked Mr. Nyberg a few questions right after Volvo presentation.
DorogaRoad: Mr. President, you said that you have the year of 2015 as the best ever in Canada?
Goran Nyberg: Yes, that's correct.
DR: What do you think is behind the success?
GN: I would say the values we bring to our customers, with all the core values of Volvo: we bring safety, uptime and environmental care. I think Canadians know what the Volvo brand stands for and we are bringing the good values in fuel efficiency and driver productivity. I know drivers especially here in Canada with a record of tough applications, they really appreciate the I-Shift, so we've had a great success with it. Along with the great support from the dealers' network, that is really performing at new high levels these days.
DR: Your team presented today a great line-up of the new products that Volvo introduced or introducing this year and at the beginning of the next year. Which of them, you think, stands out becoming the company's greatest achievement?
GN: I would say that the new line-up with new technology will bring greater fuel efficiency, but I would also say that improved and enhanced offer around the I-Shift will be something that will broaden our product range and will bring greater value to these applications. For example, an 18-speed gearbox combined with the I-Shift are bringing not only drivability but also
DR: You stressed out earlier that trucking community in North America was primarily skeptical about the I-Shift. People tried to convince you then that only manual transmission will be accepted here, and now you proved that it's wrong, isn't it?
GN: It is. It's wrong, and I would say you know we talk about aging drivers that start having problems with shoulders, knees with all the gear shifting, but also young driver just entering the industry. The younger drivers today have never driven even a car with a stick shift so I think bringing the young drivers safely into the industry, extending the professional life of all the drivers, as drivers have been able to work a few years longer due to I-Shift use. I think everyone enjoys this, not to mention the safety aspect
DR: What you will consider as the next step in Canada, in North America? What's your next goal?
GN: We're looking at a new growth and I won't give you any numbers or terms, but at rest assure we will be aggressively moving forward in Canada.