Trucking News Online

Top Volvo Truck Exec Pulls Off High-flying PR “Stunt”

September 3, 2013 By: Trucking News Staff Tags: News

It appears the president of Volvo Trucks will go to any lengths — and heights, for that matter — to promote his medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles. And that includes standing on a truck dangling more than 65 feet in the air for a film that puts a new Volvo construction truck to the test.

Claes Nilsson is the president of Volvo Trucks, and he readily admits he wondered what he’d gotten himself into as he recently stood on the front panel of a Volvo FMX construction truck hoisted high in the air above Sweden’s Gothenburg Harbor.

“I’m no mountain-climber and I don’t like heights,” Nilsson said. “But I’d promised to do the stunt, so I couldn’t very well back out.”

“Of course there were many retakes and filming is a time-consuming process. It was fairly cold – about 8 degrees above zero – and the wind was blowing about 10 metres a second, so my hands got pretty cold after a while. But it all went very well. Safety was 100 percent all the way, so I was never really afraid,” Nilsson said.

What Volvo Trucks wanted to show was that the truck’s front towing hook is dimensioned to handle far greater stresses than those to which it is normally subjected. “And you can’t do that more clearly than by hoisting the 15-tonne truck up into the air via its own towing hook,” Nilsson said.

Flip Nilsson of Folke Film directed the film, which is called “The Hook.” He said, “The difficulty is to shoot the entire film in one take from a helicopter. I’m really impressed by Claes Nilsson, who stayed cool and focused throughout the two hours while hanging 20 metres up in the air. I tried it myself, but just for 15 minutes. It was pretty scary, I can tell you.”

This is not the first time Volvo Trucks has filmed tests featuring its trucks. “The Ballerina Stunt” was a viral success the world over when it appeared on the Internet in August last year. More than seven million people have seen the film on YouTube, which shows Faith Dickey balancing on a slack line between two trucks driving at full speed. The aim in that film was to demonstrate the improved stability and steering of Volvo’s new long-haul truck.

“Since then we’ve introduced another four truck models. Our plan is to subject them to a variety of tests in the upcoming months, all with the aim of demonstrating the improved characteristics of each model. These are not any run-of-the-mill tests we’re doing – I can assure you that nobody in the truck world has ever done anything like this before,” said Nilsson.