The smaller sibling of the Volvo FH, the FM shares much of the underpinnings of the larger brother, but fitted with a smaller cab for lightness and accessibility for shorter distances and multi drop work.
The Volvo FM is a popular truck in the UK for tipping work, configured as a day cab 8×4 eight wheeler, although since the introduction of the construction specialist FMX model, the FM tipper has tended towards the lighter end of the tipping spectrum.
No stranger to distribution work, many FM rigids are seen in urban environments – usually in supermarket livery.
Many truck buyers use the model FM13 for these trucks – this was never a model made by Volvo – when the 13-litre was introduced they dropped the first numbers and just used the power in HP. So instead of an FM13.440 it is an FM440.
Introduced as recently as 1998, the FM was launched by Volvo to appeal to operators where the FH cab is too high and heavy for their operation. Typically high payload, local distribution, such as fuel tanker and tipper work fall squarely into these categories.
The model stands for Forward control Medium height cab, (compared to the Forward control High cab of the FH.
Volvo FM Timeline
1998 – A completely new truck range launched
A totally new model series is big news for a truck operator, even if the underpinnings are largely the same as the FH model.
From launch the FM was available with three different sizes of engines – the ageing 7-litre D7 from 250 to 290HP, the D10B with power outputs from 320 to 360HP and the more modern D12C with horsepower ranges from 380 to 420HP.
As there was such a choice of engines, Volvo used the swept volume of the engine as part of the model – so the 7-litre rated at 250HP was the FM7.250, for example. There was also the FM10 and the FM12.
2001 – Facelift for the FM Series
Only three years after launch, the FM was given an overhaul in the engine department. The range went from a choice of three engines to a choice of two. This was a positive step, as the ageing 7 and 10 litre engines were replaced by the ultra-modern 9-litre D9A. In addition, Volvo introduced the I-Shift automated gearbox which appeared in the FM at the same time as the FH.
The new 9-litre used the same design principles as the already successful 12-litre. The old pushrods were replaced by overhead camshaft and four valve heads. These new 9-litre FMs were available in power outputs from 300 to 380HP
2003 – FM12 gets more power
The D12D in the FM12 was given more power – now with 460HP (Compared to the 500HP launched at the same time for the FH using the same engine).
2005 – FM Range Changes Name
Alongside a revamp and the replacement of the D12 with a new 13-litre D13A engine, Volvo decided to change the naming protocol for all their trucks. The FM was no exception with the company dropping the swept volume from the model. So the FM9 and FM12 changed to simply FM, (not FM13 which many operators and dealers insist on calling them).
As far as the emission standards went, both the 9-litre and the 13-litre were available at Euro 4 (Euro IV) using SCR to clean up the emissions.
The I-Shift automated transmission also got an overhaul as the second generation was launched.
Available models were the FM360, FM400, FM440 and the FM480.
2007 – EGR Version of the 13-litre FM launched
To compete with MAN and their ‘Add Nothing’ campaign at Euro 4, Volvo launched an EGR version of the FM that required no Adblue to meet the Euro 4 legislation. This D13B engine was available alongside the existing SCR models, albeit at lower rated horsepower from 360to 440HP.
2010 – Facelift Time for the FM
With revised styling and changes to the engine lineup, the 2010 changes took place alongside the launch of the FMX – the heavy duty construction version of the FM cab.
2013 – Euro 6 launch for FM
The second facelift for the FM in three years was more major, as it formed part of the range renewal prompted by the introduction of Euro 6. The FH was the first to receive the treatment with the FM coming along a year later.
The Volvo FM Launch Video 2013
The FM received some new electronic gadgets, such as the Volvo Dynamic Steering (optional) plus some changes to the chassis including new engine mountings and improved suspension. The FM also went on a diet as Volvo managed to strip some weight across all models in the range. The FM’s full range of 11- and 13-litre engines were available from the Euro 6 launch. The D13 was available from 420hp to 500hp, while the D11 engine spanned the power range from 330hp to 450hp.
2020 A Brand New Cab and Many Upgrades
Not on the roads until the end of 2020, February 2020 saw the reveal of the long-awaited new cab for the FM. Only slightly larger than the outgoing FM cab, the new version gives the driver much more room in the cab – both in day and sleeper forms.
New technology was the other major focus of the upgrade in 2020 – which formed part of a range review including the FMX, FH and FH16. The technology was less about the driveline – although savings of up to 6% were quoted when using the I-Save functions and more about the driver technology.
There were technological improvements in the displays – gone are the old-fashioned dials which were replaced by flat screens (a 12inch to replace driving dials and a 9 inch to control cameras, music and sat nav). Plenty of safety tech for the new FM including a smarter version of the adaptive cruise control that can not stop the truck totally when following traffic that stops.
The Volvo FM Image Gallery
The 2020 Model Volvo FM Launch Video
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