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Monday, April 25, 2005

US Trucks versus EU Trucks

My father in law is a truck driver here in the US. He just got a new Volvo VT 880:

and we were wondering why all the trucks in Europe are cabover instead of the traditional US style with the log hood/bonnet.

Volvo is obviously a European company and certainly builds cabover trucks:

In fact Volvo doesn't even sell US style trucks in Europe. In order to get a traditional US style truck in Europe you'll have to go to Scania's T series:

According to Volvo "There’s a reason for the 880’s long hood: power.", however, the VT 880 is only 625hp which is not significantly different than Volvo's FH16 series cabover truck which has 610hp from the same 16litre engine:

In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the FH16 was every bit as capable as the VT880 simply due to the fact that the FH16 doesn't have the extra weight associated with the long hood on the VT880, although I can see that the VT880 may be marginally more aerodynamic.

After much wondering I finally found this info on Volvo's site that indicates that US trucks are not restricted to 18 meters in length like EU trucks, and since the US consumer prefers the style of the long hood very few US trucks are cabovers:

Aestetics aside, US and EU style trucks seem to have largely equal power and weight capacities, although the shorter length of the EU cabovers is a large advantage in close quarter manuvering as is often required in Europe. Consequently you never see US style trucks in Europe because their longer length makes them very difficult to manuver through tight windy country lanes.

What do you think? Please leave a comment or email your question, which you'd like me to answer for free, to Ben Dash at


Blogger friso said...

it's because in European countries length is an issue. There is a certain maximum length a truck may be, so if the truck is shorter, the trailer can be longer = more cargo to transport

7:28 AM  

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