Volvo Truck passing by a coffee shop

"Everything is dynamic, everything is flexible, everything is high-performance."

Walking around a top-secret prototype of the new Volvo VNL in the secure design studio in Greensboro, NC, Rikard Orell points to an angle on the hood. “In this area things came down to the millimeter. The centerline section of the hood and the exit to the windshield are extremely sensitive to the final shape so the air flows precisely,” Orell says.

Orell and his team formed a task force group to meet every day, asking where else they could find opportunities in the shape itself. They took to hand-sculpting with clay, shaving away slivers. And they thought about lines.

MOVING LINES When you’re bringing the first all-new truck to the product line in years, all the lines on its body have to say something about the truck—and about Volvo Trucks.

Which is why Orell spent a lot of time thinking about high-performance motorsports, aircraft and speedboats.

“The lines on the hood, the roof, the grille—everything is moving through the form. We wanted to make it look fast and dynamic. It’s meant to be premium, to have strength without being heavy. The whole gesture is forward moving.”

It just resonates modern and original

Designed Achievements The new design accomplishes many things. It improves aerodynamics with details like flush window seals. It incorporates new safety elements.

Regional vice president, West region, Wade Long, who was one of the original team members on the Volvo VNL project, thinks the design speaks volumes. “The truck looks like it’s always moving forward,” Long says. “It just resonates modern and new and original.”

Next Level Details Even details like automotive paint, something no other manufacturer uses, make the truck look crisp and clean

Volvo, Long says, was the first manufacturer to bring automotive design features to the trucking industry. “Twenty years later, we’re bringing the next level of automotive features to trucking”

Orell points to the truck’s headlights. “Perfect example,” he says, calling them “amazing, world class automotive quality headlights. From a safety standpoint they’re better for the driver and everybody on the road.”

But we have integrated the headlights so they would not become their own element. “I was very careful not to put any form or shape that’s static, that makes your eye just go to it. So like the side intakes and the headlights—everything is moving with the gesture of the truck.”

Orell and Long both understood, when those lines were drawn and sculpted and tweaked and finally carved in, that the truck they created would carry Volvo Trucks into the next decade, and leave the rest of the trucking industry racing to try to catch up.


Rikard Orell
Design Director




Volvo Trucks VNL headlamp Design

Design Highlights




Lighting a new way

New LED headlights illuminate further down the road. They spill less into oncoming traffic. LED light is easier on drivers’ eyes. Daytime running lights were designed to emphasize “how amazing these world class automotive-quality headlights are,” says Brian Balicki.


VNL Visibility Highlight

20/20 foresight

Vision is safety. Rob Simpson says designers “shrink-wrapped” the new Volvo VNL engine as small as possible to reduce volume of the hood and increase drivers’ forward visibility. Combined with an uninterrupted windshield and adjusted driver seat position, Volvo VNL visibility is even better than before.

Window Seals


Window Seals

Sealing out the wind

In aerodynamics, every little detail matters. Even window seals. In the new Volvo VNL, windows are flush with the exterior. Eliminating seals the caused turbulence makes the truck more aerodynamic, and makes one of the quietest cabs on the road even quieter.