Development by continent – North America
Positions advanced in North America
Decline in truck market
In 2013, the total market for heavy-duty trucks in North America declined to 236,300 trucks compared with 249,600 in the preceding year. Demand was relatively weak during the first six months of the year, but improved slightly over the course of the year supported by a slight recovery in the U.S. economy, an improvement in the construction cycle and a continued widespread replacement need in the highway truck segment.
Successes due to attractive products
In 2013, the Volvo Group increased its market share in North America. The combined market share in the heavy-duty segment was 18.8% (18.3), on the back of a competitive customer offering of trucks equipped with engines and transmissions that provide considerable fuel savings, improved drivability, less wear and improved safety. The new drivelines have meant that an increasing number of customers opt for Volvo Group engines. In 2013, 87% (79) of Volvo trucks sold in the U.S. and Canada were equipped with Volvo engines. The vast majority of Mack trucks are equipped with the Group's Mack engines.
The high demand for the Group’s automated mechanical transmissions, Volvo I-Shift and Mack mDRIVE, continued in North America. Volvo Trucks introduced its I-Shift transmission on the North American market in 2007 and at the start of 2013 it was announced that the transmission would be standard on all trucks with Volvo engines built for the North American market. During 2013, 69% (59) of trucks with Volvo engines in North America were equipped with I-Shift. Since I-Shift is only available together with Volvo engines, this also helps promote sales of the company's own engines. mDRIVE was introduced in Mack products in 2010 and in 2013 it was installed in 40% (27) of all Mack highway trucks.
During the year, Volvo expanded the XE – Exceptional Efficiency – driveline concept with the launch of XE11 for its 11-liter engine. XE11 is available for the Volvo VNM and Volvo VNL models and improves fuel efficiency by up to 3%. XE drivelines form an integrated component comprising a Volvo engine, the I-Shift transmission, optimized axle ratio and proprietary software that makes it possible to reduce engine rpm when driving at high speeds, a concept Volvo calls “downspeeding.” Volvo introduced XE drivelines for its 13 and 16 liter engines in North America in 2012.
During the year, the company announced that all model year 2014 Volvo engines would also be more fuel efficient as a result of improved engine components. Customers purchasing trucks with 11, 13 or 16-liter engines will notice a fuel saving of 0.5-2%, which entails considerable savings for both large and small trucking companies.
During the year Volvo Trucks became the first manufacturer to announce plans to commercialize dimethyl ether (DME)-powered heavy-duty commercial vehicles in North America.
Volvo CE opened in Shippensburg
The North American market for construction equipment displayed a stable performance during the year. In total, the market, measured in number of machines sold, increased by 2% compared with 2012. However, Volvo CE’s deliveries in North America fell by 23% to a total of 5,240 machines in 2013 (6,782). Demand for Volvo machines strengthened in 2012 as a result of rental firms renewing their machine fleets. The scope of these measures declined in 2013, which led to lower deliveries for Volvo CE.
In March, production of the first U.S.-manufactured L60–L90 wheel loaders began at the plant in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. Volvo CE has invested a total of USD 100 M in the facility, which also produces road machinery.
Volvo CE’s SDLG brand was introduced among selected dealers in the North American market during the year. Two wheel loader models were initially launched, the 11-ton LG958 and 17-ton LG959.
Hybrid bus success
The North American market for both city buses and coaches remained weak as a result of the budget restrictions in many cities, but there were indications of recovery in the market in the second half of the year. The Volvo Group delivered a total of 1,752 buses in North America, down 4% compared with 1,826 buses in 2012.
Volvo Buses’ North American subsidiary Nova Bus secured an order for 475 hybrid buses to Quebec, Canada. This is the single largest order for hybrid vehicles for the Volvo Group to date. The order also includes an option for a further 1,200 vehicles. Nova Bus also received an order for 414 low floor city buses from MTA New York City Transit, with an option for an additional 700 buses.
In November, Nova Bus and the Montréal public transport authority, Société de transport de Montréal (STM), signed an agreement on an electrification project for the public transit system of the city, formalizing the intention of testing three Nova LFSe electric buses and two charging stations. The goal is to have the noiseless and emission-free buses operational for demonstration in the third quarter of 2015 and in regular traffic for three years, beginning in 2016. Montréal will be the first city in North America to take part in the Volvo City Mobility Program.
During the year Volvo Buses other North American subsidiary, Prevost, secured an order for 300 commuter buses to New York City.
In December 2013, the Volvo Group signed an agreement to sell its North American construction equipment lease operation, Volvo Rents, for approximately SEK 7.0 billion. The transaction was completed on January 31, 2014. The divestment is in line with the strategic effort to focus on the core business. Volvo CE will continue to sell products to Volvo Rents under the new ownership.