Volvo Trucks
Volvo Vnl 860 25th Anniversary

‘Iconic’ VNL celebrates 25 years

March 31, 2021
Volvo Trucks’ most popular model, which debuted in 1996 in North America, continues to elevate expectations for HD industry

Volvo Trucks North America is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Volvo VNL, which the company says has raised the “standards of design, efficiency, performance and safety that have served as a road map for the heavy-duty trucking industry.”

The model, first introduced in 1996, has “elevated the expectations” for trucks in the North American market, the manufacturer said, and helped customers streamline operations, boost driver recruitment and retention, and strengthen their bottom lines.

The Volvo VNL, the company’s most popular truck, is assembled in the U.S. at Volvo’s New River Valley manufacturing plant in Virginia.

“Volvo Trucks first revolutionized the North American trucking industry by introducing the first fully integrated sleeper compartment, raising the bar and changing perceptions about truck driving as a professional career,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president at Volvo Trucks North America. “The introduction of the Volvo VNL in 1996 continued that legacy of innovation and influence, bringing breakthroughs in design and technology that have reshaped standards of excellence for our customers, their drivers and our industry for 25 years, and will continue to do so for years to come.”

Aerodynamic design was the catalyst when the VNL model was introduced in 1996, with a “revolutionary” shape that improved airflow and fuel efficiency. The totally redesigned, sloped hood and contoured exterior cab features have influenced North American Class 8 truck design since that introduction.

In 1997, the debut of the dinette, which is a workstation that converts to a bunk, cemented Volvo Trucks’ reputation for driver productivity and overnight comfort. The versatile design changed the paradigm for long-haul cabin interiors and helped attract drivers to a career offering a premium on-road living environment.

The Volvo VNL model also sets the bar for safety with its High Strength Steel (HSS) cab and driver-side airbag as standard equipment. Additionally, in 2005, Volvo Enhanced Stability Technology (VEST), the first fully electronic stability control system for heavy-duty, on-highway trucks, became a standard feature on the Volvo VNL.

Performance was transformed again in 2007 when the Volvo I-Shift, an industry benchmark for automated manual transmissions, was made available in the VNL model. By 2013, the Volvo I-Shift became standard on all models. The I-Shift improves fuel economy, increases driver comfort and safety, reduces driveline wear and extends transmission life, Volvo said.

Volvo Trucks took connectivity to new levels in 2012 when its Remote Diagnostics service was made standard on the VNL. Today, every Volvo VNL model is equipped with comprehensive diagnostics information, along with real-time, in-house 24/7 support from the Volvo Trucks Uptime Center in Greensboro NC.

In 2019, Volvo Trucks reinforced its leadership in safety and driver productivity when Volvo Dynamic Steering (VDS) became available for the VNL. Monitoring road and environmental inputs at 2,000 times a second, the technology adds torque to the steering column to reduce strain, helping the Volvo VNL offer a more comfortable driving experience.

Most recently, Volvo Trucks’ next-generation D13 Turbo Compound (D13TC) engine, first launched in the Volvo VNL in 2019, was made standard in the Volvo VNL 740, 760 and 860 models in 2021, providing optimized performance and efficiency for a wide range of applications and delivering up to 6% fuel economy improvements over the Volvo D13 VGT engine, the company said.

“On highways across North America, the design and performance of the Volvo VNL has been turning heads and positively impacting our customers’ businesses for 25 years,” said Allison Athey, product marketing manager for Volvo Trucks North America. “We look forward to what technological advancements and customer benefits the next 25 years will bring.”

As part of the VNL 25th anniversary celebration, all Volvo VNL models coming off the production line in 2021 will have special commemorative badges affixed to the exterior door panels. In addition, limited-edition merchandise can be found at, and customers interested in decals for their VNL models can obtain artwork by contacting their dealer or corporate sales representative.

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BT staff