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Prime Mover Magazine

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Peter Hart

Heavy vehicle manufacturing in Australia – the silent achiever

December 2016

The community seems not to recognise the contribution that local manufacturing makes by creating wealth, high quality jobs and enhanced productivity via custom built logistics gear.

In this article I want to set the record straight. The tables show my estimates of the size and commercial value of the new heavy truck and trailer industry in Australia. The following tables give my estimates of the retail value of five road-vehicle categories. Bus body building is not included – it would add to the total value add.

Obviously locally manufactured heavy vehicles do not have complete Australian content. For example, there are no commercial diesel engines manufactured here so the engines are all imported. 

Truck build can be classified into four levels:

1 Cab manufactured and chassis rails drilled in Australia.
2 Chassis rails drilled in Australia and cabin imported.
3 Vehicle assembled here from CKD components.
4 Vehicle fully imported and driven off a boat.

The great majority of bodies (~90 per cent) are manufactured and installed in Australia because they are customer specification.

Trailer build can be classified into two levels:

1 Trailer chassis rails and body manufactured in Australia
2 Trailer fully imported.

Using the totals in the tables, I estimate that the annual Australian manufacturing value add in the new truck and trailer supply industry is about $2.47 billion. This significant Australian industry is apparently unrecognised by our political leaders, journalists or the community. It is a silent achiever.

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