Bowker Transport has taken delivery of a special liveried Volvo FH 460 with I-Save 6×2 tractor unit, to mark its 50-year working relationship with Volvo Trucks. The Preston-based business – part of the Bowker Group – has been in operation for more than a century and is now one of the UK’s largest family-owned transport operations with 225 vehicles, 450 trailers and 1.2 million sq. ft of warehousing spread over 10 depots. Over its 103-year history the company has only ever acquired its trucks from three manufacturers, and for the past five decades it has worked with Volvo.
Bill Bowker, Director at Bowker Group, says: “This relationship was originally forged 50 years ago, and it is a partnership where customer input plays a vital part in the development of a transport solution. We are very grateful for the help, support and assistance we have received from several key people in Gothenburg and Warwick over the years, together with staff from our local dealer Thomas Hardie Commercials.
“The decision to go with Volvo originally was based upon our opinion that they have the safest and best products, supported by the most effective back-up service in the UK and Europe. As far as we are concerned, we made the right decision, and the relationship has grown and developed over the years. It is a true partnership and collectively we both have the track record to prove it.”
During its long history, the Bowker Transport fleet has had four different liveries but the core colours of red, white and blue have always featured. In 2019, Volvo worked closely with the business to come up with a special livery for its centenary celebrations, when two FH tractor units were painted in an updated version of a blue cab with a wide white band around the middle section and a narrow gold band.
That design has been adapted further on the new FH with I-Save, with the gold colouring wrapped around the top half of the cab and ‘1972 – 2022’ written just above the door to mark the 50-year partnership between the business and the Swedish manufacturer.
The Volvo FH Specification
Supplied by Thomas Hardie Commercials, the latest version FH is powered by a Euro-6 compliant D13TC Step E engine, producing 460 hp and a peak torque of 2,600 Nm. Benefitting from Volvo Trucks’ I-Save technology, making full use of the available energy at every stage to deliver increased efficiency across the whole rpm range.
Volvo Trucks’ I-Shift automated gearbox technology and I-See predictive cruise control combine to bring further sustainability and operational efficiency gains through perfectly timed gearshifts and active speed management.
Inside the Globetrotter cab, the driver benefits from Volvo’s Drive+ package including features such as an adjustable steering wheel with neck tilt, electrically operated tinted glass roof hatch, side sun visor for both driver and passenger, plus electrically controlled air conditioning with a carbon filter and sun, mist and air quality sensor.
The FH – which will be used to deliver a variety of goods across the UK and into mainland Europe – also includes a modern dashboard with a fully digital 12-inch, high resolution instrument display, DAB radio and navigation, as well as 245 litres of rear upper cab storage and a 33-litre under-bunk mounted fridge freezer.
It is backed with a comprehensive five-year Volvo Gold Contract, guaranteeing Bowker Transport worry-free ownership and maximum uptime with servicing and maintenance carried out across the Volvo Trucks dealer network.
Strong dealer support has been a key factor behind the long-standing loyalty to Volvo, with Thomas Hardie Commercials hosting an anniversary lunch tomorrow (Friday, 21st October) to mark the 50-year partnership.
“We have developed a first-rate working relationship that provides us just what we require from our suppliers,” adds Bowker. “This includes the supply of vehicles that meet our exact needs, combined with effective contract maintenance. It’s a true partnership from both dealer and manufacturer that enhances our own business no end.”