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Cab comfort pioneer celebrates 30th anniversary

When the Globetrotter cab was launched, Volvo expected to sell a few hundred cabs a year. But this niche product quickly became a success. This year, 30 years after it was launched, nine out of ten new Volvo FH trucks have a Globetrotter cab. Now, just like at the outset, the Globetrotter’s key concepts are driver environment and world class cab comfort.
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The Globetrotter cab was designed to provide a safer option for long-haul operations. Haulage from Western to Eastern Europe increased steadily during the 1970s. Journeys lasted several days, and it was common for two or more drivers to share a truck and drive in shifts. Often, the only accommodation solutions available were add-on plastic superstructures that left a lot to be desired in terms of safety. Volvo wanted to offer a safer, more comfortable option.

Volvo’s low sales projections were quickly shattered. The Globetrotter cab met a need that nobody could have foreseen. Instead of catering to a niche, Volvo opened an entirely new market.

Today’s cab emerges
In the 1980s, Volvo was first to introduce a revolutionary development concept for truck cabs. Instead of being designed around the truck, the cab was designed around the driver. As part of Volvo’s cab improvement project, a mock-up of a driver's cab was built and used to measure drivers' sitting positions at motor shows worldwide.

Over 2,000 truck drivers helped develop the new cab by sitting in the mock-up and then answering questionnaires regarding different aspects of trucks. After eleven years of product development, the new Globetrotter cab was launched along with Volvo’s new FH truck series in 1993.

“There’s no doubt that the Globetrotter cab has played a key role in Volvo’s success over the years. Safety has always been one of our core values, and this is a prime example of how our safety efforts pay off,” says Claes Nilsson, President of the Europe division at Volvo Trucks. 

The Globetrotter cab has been continuously refined and upgraded since then. In 1996, Volvo introduced the Globetrotter XL, the first truck with a full standing height of 193 cm inside the cab. The driver environment was given new seats and a new instrument panel in 2002, and a new audio and video system was introduced in 2008. Other new features introduced at the same time included a fold-up bed that offers a variety of adjustments and an optional swivelling passenger seat.

The future
Current truck regulations do not permit any changes to the cab’s outer dimensions. However, constant efforts are underway to make better use of the available space and adapt the Globetrotter to new regulations.

“The Globetrotter concept was a way of combining smart driver cab solutions and optimising the scope for creating a safe, comfortable working and living environment in a limited space – and this work still continues,” says Volvo Trucks’ design director Rikard Orell. "And it's equally important to offer advanced safety and communication equipment. Thanks to Scandinavian design focusing on shape, function and quality, the Globetrotter concept will remain successful in the future."

Milestones:
1979: The first Globetrotter cab is born. Volvo is the first manufacturer to offer a complete solution for driving and living comfort in a truck.
1993:  A newly developed Globetrotter is launched for Volvo’s new FH series, and quickly becomes Volvo’s best-selling cab.
1996:  The Globetrotter XL is launched as a variant, with full standing height of 193 cm from floor to ceiling.
2002:  The driver environment is upgraded with features including a new instrument panel and new seats.
2008:  The cab is made more spacious. The audio and video system is upgraded, and a new folding bed is introduced that converts into a chair. A new swivelling passenger seat is offered as an option.

Volvo Globetrotter cab as of 1979

Volvo Globetrotter cab as of 2009

16 June 2009

For further information, please contact:
Per Nilsson, phone +46 31 323 33 49, e-mail
per.nilsson.pr@volvo.com

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