Volvo Penta

Volvo Penta recently hosted a major press event in Gothenberg, Sweden and invited approximately 50 marine journalists from 14 different countries including Argentina and Brazil from South America and three journalists from North America, Christopher Landry from Soundings Trade Only, Randy Vance from the Bonnier Corporation and Andy Adams from Boating Industry Canada and Canadian Yachting magazines. Unfortunately Andy had a prior commitment and asked me, John Armstrong to stand in. Of course I jumped at the chance to be associated with such esteemed journalists and of course with Volvo Penta, one of the most innovative companies for marine engines and drive trains.

Julia Zelenock, Volvo Penta Director of Marketing Americas, and Marcia Kull Vice President of Marine Sales North America were our hostesses, and did a marvelous job of introducing us to the “ Volvo Way “, but also ensured we were entertained each evening we were there.

We arrived Tuesday morning, checked into the hotel, and shortly thereafter we were driven to the Volvo Museum and of course, our mode of transport was a Volvo limousine. The museum was an impressive collection of Volvo history from marine engines, to utility engines, to heavy equipment, to airplanes, to cars, to trucks, to busses and there was a very special area dedicated to the Volvo Ocean Race. We were only there for three hours, but in reality it would have taken three days or more to see it all.

That evening we were invited to dinner with Martin Bjuve, the new Vice President  of Volvo Penta of the Americas at a lovely restaurant called the River Café which was very close to our hotel. We all enjoyed a Swedish meal and the dessert was fresh strawberries and ice cream and of course, the meal was accompanied with Swedish beer.

The next day we were picked up on the water by a number of different boats; all powered with Volvo Penta power plants and were escorted to the Volvo Penta Test Center. We spent the morning being introduced to new product lines, (press releases to follow in the next issues of Boating Industry Canada and Canadian Yachting magazines) then we spent the afternoon on the water on a number of different boats that had Volvo Penta equipment powering and driving them, the new innovation is outstanding.

It was very evident to all of us that Volvo Penta is setting the standard in a helm to stern package that will change boating as we know it for many years. Joystick driving is now the norm and it was introduced and refined by Volvo Penta, as was the stern drive system many years ago. The new all glass cockpit that was first introduced in the new generation airplanes will soon become the standard in boats, thanks to Volvo Penta.

Volvo Penta’s new Interceptor System or as it’s called “IS”, is a fully electrical trim system with powerful servos that adjusts the boats attitude in all directions. It enhances all aspects of safety when underway.  

 I ran four of their test boats at the test facility and one of them was an Atlantis 55 powered with twin IPS 950’s.  On my initial run I had turned off the IS and powering out of the hole, lost sight of the horizon. I repeated the exercise with the IS on and the horizon was visible the entire time. I also did a number of turns with the IS on and off, and the difference was outstanding; it flattens the turn, improves visability and increase one’s comfort. Another significant benefit of the IS is its trimming the boat when underway which improves the fuel efficiency.

Volvo also introduced a new Volvo Penta D 11 series offering 3 power classes, 625, 670 and 725 HP. This engine series will be available for both traditional shaft and the Volvo Penta IPS system.

A new generation V8 – 430 HP gas engine was also introduced. This engine is equipped with VVT (Variable Valve Timing) which optimizes torque at low RPM’s while maximizing the effective output at high RPM’s resulting in faster acceleration, increased top speed and a smoother, better response in the mid range. I ran one of the test boats with this engine package and was amazed at the performance and how quietly the engine ran.

Volvo Penta also introduced a new Extended Warranty Coverage program which will help owners stay ahead of costs.

After our day at the test center we were treated to an evening dinner cruise where the company, the meal and the surroundings were all outstanding; once again the Volvo Way was pure professionalism.

Day three we traveled to the Volvo Engine Plant in Skovde aboard a Volvo Bus that was outfitted for the Volvo Ocean Challenge. It was equipped with everything from WIFI to an Espresso Machine. This plant produces engines for most business areas within the Volvo Group. This includes engines for trucks, buses, construction equipment and for Volvo Penta’s sales of marine and industrial engines. Our tour started from where the scrap metal enters the factory and is melted down, to the finished product where the engines are prepped for shipping. It takes approximately 14 days from start to finish to manufacturing an engine, and last year the plant manufactured 175,000 engines. The plant is mainly robotic and when we were there they were running 3 shifts a day with each shift having 15 workers.

On our way back to Gothenberg we stopped at a Swedish Colonial home that dated back to the 1800’s. It had an interesting history of owners, one of whom commissioned a very well known architect from Stockholm to build the Manor House, which is now part of Bjertorp Slott Hotel and Restaurant. We had a lovely buffet lunch and then spent some time touring the grounds before boarding our bus to return to Gothenberg.

We spent our last evening enjoying dinner in Gothenberg proper, an end to a wonderful experience.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the names of a number of people who made it all happen,

Bjorn Ingemanson, President Volvo, Ron Huibers, President, Volvo Penta of the Americas, Martin Bjuve, Vice President Volvo Penta of the Americas, Otto Linninger, Curator Volvo Museum, Rickard Lunberg, Assistant Plant Manager Skovde, Lindsy Shrewsberry, Lotta Emegard, our very gracious Swedish Lady who kept everything running on time and of course Julia Zelenock and Marcia Kull who were with us from the time we left Washington until our return.

Thank you all!

John Armstrong










Picture 1:
(L-R) Richard Lundberg, Ernani Paciornik, Marcia Kull, Chris Landry, Lotta Emegard, Julia Zelenock, Marcelo

Puscar, Randy Vance, John Armstrong, Gustavo Revel, Claudio Paciornik
Picture 2:
(L-R) Marcelo Puscar, Claudio Paciornik, Richard Lundberg, Marcia Kull, Chris Landry, Julia Zelenock, Ernani

Paciornik, John Armstrong, Gustavo Revel, Randy Vance

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