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The new Volvo truck assembly plant in King Abdullah Economic City

The new Volvo truck assembly plant in King Abdullah Economic City



Volvo’s focus is Saudi market

Conditions were very good in the kingdom to have Volvo Trucks decide to have a second plant which it built and is now operating in King Abdullah Economic City

October 2015

A new Volvo truck plant that opened earlier this year in King Abdullah Economic City has not yet exported its products, preferring to develop its brand before considering shipments to parties abroad, a senior official has said.

“Our main priority right now is the Saudi market. There is significant potential for growth in the kingdom due to ongoing and up-and-coming construction projects,” said Marco Bonaveglio, market director for Volvo Trucks in Saudi Arabia.

The official also said the heavy duty range it was now assembling at the plant would be supplemented by other niche products it is looking into.

The new plant in King Abdullah Economic City – AVI (Arabian Vehicles & Trucks Industry) Co Ltd – is a joint venture between Zahid Tractor and Volvo Group with an assembling capacity of 4,000 trucks in one shift and 7,000 in two shifts.

“No, we have not exported any Saudi-made Volvo Trucks since the opening of the plant,” Bonaveglio emphasised. “As of now our priority is to further develop the Volvo Truck brand along with our importer and distributor Zahid Tractors in Saudi Arabia, and boost our market share in the kingdom.”

Volvo Trucks is not new to assembling trucks in Saudi Arabia. AVI’s joint venture with Volvo Group was established in Jeddah in 1997 with the first truck rolling out in 1999.

“While it is too early to comment on customer orders, the opening of the plant has created a lot of interest among customers and prospects in the kingdom and is seen as a benchmark in terms of improving efficiency and creating job opportunities for locals with outstanding working conditions,” said Bonaveglio.

About changes Volvo sees over the next five years with regards to truck preferences and truck demand in Saudi Arabia and in the wider Gulf region, the official remarked:

“The Middle East is a rapidly changing market becoming more and more mature as it grows. We have seen significant shifts in trends. Our customers are increasingly aware of the total cost of ownership rather than the price of the truck alone. Our customers want their business to be more efficient and profitable and our role as a truck manufacturer is to give them all the tools to succeed, not only when it comes to the products, but also the services.”

The company currently assembles at the King Abdullah Economic City plant a full heavy duty range (FH, FM, and FMX). These models cover both construction and long haulage (including heavy haulage) segments.

“Other niche products are now under consideration,” said Bonaveglio.

The Volvo FH has been Volvo Trucks’ flagship model for almost 20 years, accounting for more than 60 per cent of total sales. The new Volvo FM is considered a real all-rounder, the best truck in its class on the market. Taking reliability and productivity to the extreme, it is designed to provide the perfect platform for bodybuilders to customise it for any job. The new robust Volvo FMX construction truck is loaded with new features, such as an advanced rear air suspension, which benefit haulers as well as drivers.

The plant in KAEC: building Volvo influence

The plant in KAEC: building Volvo influence

“Volvo Trucks’ aim is to become the world leader in sustainable transport solutions; this is embedded deeply in the brand’s vision,” said Boonaveglio. “Each one of our customers is unique and we strive to create the most suitable solutions for their specific needs. Our service and maintenance contracts can be tailor-made to meet specific customer requirements, according to their business, application and usage.

“The transport solutions offered by Volvo Trucks Middle East include a mix of pioneering the very latest technology whilst enhancing customer’s productivity, allowing them to increase uptime and optimise service and maintenance for theduty cycle.”

BEST SUITED FOR GULF

Several special features in Volvo Trucks make the vehicles best suited for conditions in the Gulf, the official stated.

“The ongoing development of the Middle East truck market makes it a key focus for Volvo Trucks. The new FH, FM and FMX models and the solutions we offer our customers will continue to help us to do that. Our range of trucks offers the highest possible standards of reliability, handling, robustness, fuel-efficiency, safety and driver comfort resulting in more efficiency and uptime for our Middle East customers.

“Our trucks are designed with the toughest conditions and roads in mind as well as putting our customers and the drivers firmly in focus. Our goal is to give our customers all the tools that they need to make their businesses successful,” said the official.

“For example, the driving position has been improved and offers greater flexibility. The steering wheel now has a neck tilt function, a world-first in the truck industry. A better driving position means the driver is less likely to get tired, and of course, an alert driver does a better job in a safer way.

“Volvo Dynamic Steering improves suspension both at the front and at the rear. New engine mountings are upgrades that contribute to the newest Volvo models’ outstanding road manners. Volvo Dynamic Steering combines an electronically controlled electric motor on the steering gear with hydraulic power steering. This gives the truck driver a number of benefits.”

Bonaveglio said excellent aftersales support and packages through Volvo’s exclusive importer and distributor Zahid Tractor was a key factor in Volvo Trucks’ success in Saudi Arabia.




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