We take a long-term view of our business and what needs to be done to create value for our customers and to create sustainable profitability. Accordingly, we maintained our relatively high investments in product development during both 2009 and 2010. We also continued to invest in our plants and sales channels. Combined, this means that we now stand well-prepared in terms of both products and capacity.
As one of the world’s largest manufacturers of commercial vehicles, we have a responsibility to reduce the impact on the environment caused by our production as well as the usage of our products – it is a responsibility that we take most seriously. Engines that use less fuel lower our customers’ operating costs and strengthen their competitiveness while reducing environmental impact. At the beginning of the year, we introduced on a broad front in the USA, the new engines that meet the latest, extremely stringent requirements on emission levels that are in fact practically zero for nitrogen oxides and particulates. Trucks fitted with the new engines have been well received by both old and new customers and we are capturing market share in North America as a consequence. But the truck news doesn’t end there. In Europe, Volvo Trucks launched the new construction truck Volvo FMX that strengthens the offering within this important segment of the market. In Japan, UD Trucks, in conjunction with the introduction of new emission regulations, launched a new heavy Quon truck equipped with Group engines.
Through Eicher, we have a very strong position in medium-duty trucks in India and a well-performing sales network. We are now further developing Eicher to keep pace with the strong growth in the country and for export to other countries. We are developing a new generation of heavy-duty trucks and investing in new assembly capacity. We are also building a new engine plant that will be the global base for the medium-duty engine platform to be launched in increasing numbers of the Group’s products in the coming years.
Volvo CE launched a number of new Volvo products during the year. Manufacturing was also begun in China of the new series of excavators under the SDLG brand. In addition, Volvo CE’s engines received certification in accordance with the new environmental rules that are beginning to be introduced in Europe and North America in 2011. During the year, Volvo Buses began mass production of hybrid buses at its plant in Poland. This is but a small selection of news for a year when the pace of renewal remained high for all business areas.