Volvo Trucks has lately upped its ante by adding Volvo FM 380 8x4 to its Indian portfolio. The truck joins FMX 460 8x4, FM 420 6x4 and FMX 8x4 Tridem that the company has already introduced in the construction segment. Volvo Trucks claims that the seeding of FM 380 into the India market is based on the market feedback gathered over the last few years. India has been witnessing road construction activity of around 40 km per day, which experts feel is expected to go north only. Additionally, the central government has been placed huge thrust on speedy completion of infra projects. Volvo Trucks has developed two different body capacities - 23 Cu.M. u-body and 19.5 Cu.M. rock body configurations - to serve the varied customer needs across different projects.
The premium quality finish of the Swedish CV maker clearly gets reflected in the new Volvo FM 380 as well. The truck gets a reworked chassis and tilt-type four-point suspended cabin that rides 20-inch radius wheels to suit the rugged demands of the construction segment. The front look is dominated by Volvo's signature grille that extends well into the bumper to offer a distinct identity to the vehicle. The clear headlamps with DRLs give the truck an aggressive appeal and stand it in good stead for easy manoeuvring even in low light conditions. Under the hood, the new FM 380 gets a 13-litre diesel engine that generates 380 hp power at 1,400 -1,900 rpm and 1,900 Nm torque at 1,000-1,400 rpm. The engine is mated to Volvo's I-shift AMT gearbox with 12 forward and four reverse gears. The I-shift is based on an unsynchronised manual gearbox managed by electronic control unit that undertakes gear shifts according to the operating conditions and offers fuel efficiency of up to five percent. The system is designed to work in tandem with engine and evaluate data about speed, weight, torque demand, road conditions and thus adjust revs and perform gear shifting with precision.
Once a person climbs aboard, the premium quality interiors are visible across the cabin. There is a wide view in front while sitting on the adjustable driver seat that remains suspended to withstand road shocks. The seat is ergonomically designed for a comfortable driving position and the I-shift gear lever is placed within easy reach of the driver. The I-shift lever shows M for manual drive mode and A for automatic drive mode as per the driver need. Every time the ignition is switched off, the truck automatically engages the parking brake; thus, the parking brake is placed on the dashboard for quick access.
Crank the engine and the Volvo FM 380 roars to life. A bit of sound does enter the cabin but notably it is a diesel workhorse designed for heavy duty jobs and does not offer a silent cabin. Press the brake pedal, shift the I-shift into drive mode and FM 380 proceeds forward without a hiccup. As the truck picks up momentum, the gear shifting remains harmonious and one does not understand the gear in which the truck is travelling unless he has a glance at the dashboard. The air-conditioner soon kicks in to push the comfort quotient up. Volvo's dynamic steering offers good control over the steering wheel and clearly performs well in minimising driver fatigue. Volvo's focus on safety is also depicted with the large ORVMs and kerb mirror on left side of the front windscreen that work in tandem with the driver for pedestrian and small vehicle safety. Despite sitting in a truck, Volvo FM 380 offers comfort of not less than a car. The disc brakes bite in well to shed speed of FM 380, clearly depicting the engineering prowess of the Volvo Group.
The construction segment has registered a heavy growth of 88 % over the first half of 2018, largely powered by the government’s growing focus on infrastructure. Volvo's workhorses are working tirelessly across large irrigation projects in Polavaram, Kaleshwaram, Palamuru Renga Reddy; Hydel, Tunnel and Cavern Projects in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, J&K; Granite and marble mining in Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh; Stone/Quarry projects in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Haryana, Rajasthan and Orissa along with fast-growing road construction projects in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra. Volvo Trucks raised its stakes in October 2017, from being a premium mining player to serve the fast-growing Indian construction segment. The Swedish CV maker introduced a slew of products to augment its share in the construction segment and capitalised well to sell 250 trucks serving the construction projects across India. With the new FM 380, Volvo claims to reduce its fleet size by 40 %, powered by its wider body configuration and an uptime of as high as 95 %.