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Volvo Group Australia launches new service offensive

Volvo Group Australia has set the pace for the 2017 Brisbane Truck Show with the launch of an ambitious new uptime promise for both Volvo and Mack, a new UD model and a group-wide Driver Academy.

According to Peter Voorhoeve, President and CEO of Volvo Group Australia, both Volvo and Mack will be introducing a new ‘uptime guarantee’ tomorrow whereby the brands pledge to get a truck back on the road within eight hours in case of an unscheduled workshop visit – otherwise they will pay a $500 ‘fine’ to the transport business for every day the truck is out of action.

“We’re so confident in our product that we promise to have you back on the road within eight hours anywhere in Australia,” he said. “It’s the next step in service for the Australian market.”

Voorhoeve also launched a group-wide Driver Academy as a follow-up to Volvo Group Australia’s in-depth research into driver development and recruitment, which it conducted in early 2016.

“Our research program showed that something had to be done, so we’ve developed the Driver Academy in response to it,” he explained.

The Academy will see Volvo Group Australia continue supporting Heather Jones’ Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls, launch an all-new safety standards training initiative in collaboration with Tafe NSW, and set up a driver trainer training program. As a fourth pillar, the project will also see the launch of a new campaign aiming at providing a new pathway into the industry for young and inexperienced drivers, which Jones said are the industry's best bet to tackle a looming driver shortage.

“As an industry, we should focus on taking on new-to-the-industry talent rather than retraining drivers with bad habits,” she explained. By taking the training process seriously from day one, she said industry will be able to tackle a wealth of issues that go beyond the mere driving task, most notably service attitude and professionalism.

Mark Stambi, Acting Vice President of UD Trucks, also used the opportunity to give industry a sneak peek at the all new Quon product, which is expected to be launched in Australia in November 2017.

After lifting the UD brand’s market share from 1.6 per cent at the end of April 2016 to 3.4 per cent in the same month 2017, all based on the current product line-up, Stambi said he was confident the Quon’s first full re-design in 13 years could bring even more momentum to the up-and-coming brand.

As part of the pre-Show presentation, Voorhoeve also shared a personal analysis of the Australian truck market, stating 2017 may finally see the industry bounce back, with sales reaching the 10,000-unit mark again.

“Australia is a strong market, and it’s arguably in a much better state now than it’s been in a long time,” he said. “The two-speed economy is gone, we’re back in a normal economy now, and that is good for trucking.

“It’s not for no reason that there’s 17 OEMs in this country, and I think 2017 has the potential to show just how strong the market really is.”

More to come.

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