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Prime Mover Magazine

Volvo Group reaches major milestone

Volvo Group Australia has celebrated the Group’s 60,000th truck produced at its Wacol plant in Brisbane.

The milestone coincides with the Group joining the Australian Made Campaign, being awarded certification to carry the iconic ‘Australian Made’ logo.

Announcing the production milestone, President & CEO of Volvo Group Australia, Peter Voorhoeve, said that the Group has demonstrated that automotive manufacturing is alive in Australia and highlighted the on-going success of the Group’s Brisbane-based Wacol plant.

“Our Wacol plant has been operating since 1972, and houses manufacturing and engineering facilities to produce both Volvo and Mack trucks,” he said.

“The plant makes a significant economic contribution to the local area, and it does it without any government subsidies.

“We have close to 450 people directly employed in the production process, about 50 dedicated engineers based in Brisbane. The Wacol factory also has approximately 85 local suppliers delivering more than 3,500 different components to the Wacol factory – of which, many are produced right here in Australia."

Joining the ‘Australian Made’ campaign means that Volvo Group Australia is currently the only truck manufacturer in Australia to have been awarded the prestigious certification, presented by the CEO of the Australian Made Campaign, Ian Harrison.

“We’re delighted that Volvo Group Australia has joined the campaign,” said Harrison.

“It reflects their commitment to promoting local manufacturing, both in its direct production operations but also through their support of the local automotive components’ industry.”

Voorhoeve detailed the Group’s current and future investment plans for its Australian facilities.

“We are committed to manufacturing trucks in Australia and have invested over $27 million in the production facility alone in the last six years, and will invest a further $3.7 million in upgrading our chassis treatment and cab paint process,” he said.

"We’re talking about a lot of money, which is a reflection of how confident we are in local manufacturing.

“We are also investing considerably, together with our private partners, in our dealerships and customer service network."

Voorhoeve explained that, between the Volvo Group and private partners, approximately $160 million of investment will have been made between 2014 and 2018 in its dealership and service network.

“Of the $160 million in investments for 2014 to 2018, Volvo Group will have
contributed $65 million to finance projects. These include several to be completed in 2018, notably, new national headquarters, and new dealerships in both Brisbane and Sydney,” Voorhoeve said.

Voorhoeve explained that the investment amounts are considerable because trucking is big business in Australia.

“The road freight transport industry is generally quite humble, and rarely in the spotlight despite being a $42 billion industry. Almost everything we touch, eat and use has been on a truck at some stage,” he said

“The industry employs approximately 150,000 people across more than 40,000 businesses, contributing $8.4 billion in wages back into the economy."

Voorhoeve added that while growth in the transport industry has slowed in recent years, it has weathered the slowdown of the resource sector quite well and looks to be bouncing back in 2017.

Australian Trucking Association (ATA) Chair, Geoff Crouch, and CEO, Ben Maguire, were among guests to celebrating the milestone.

Crouch said many Australians did not realise that this country has a substantial truck manufacturing industry, despite the closure of domestic car manufacturing.

“More than a thousand people work for Volvo Group here in Wacol, including engineers, factory workers and administrative staff,” Crouch said.

“They build Australian trucks under the Australian Design Rules for Australian businesses."

“Volvo Trucks is known for its commitment to safety, and has continued that commitment through its long and generous sponsorship of the ATA.

“Volvo Trucks’ own safety campaign, Stop Look Wave, aims to keep young children safe around traffic.

“And the Volvo ATA Safety Truck travels across Australia to educate 18-25 year old car drivers about how to share the road safely with trucks.

“Sadly, seven out of ten accidents between trucks and cars are due to mistakes by car drivers, so it is a critical safety campaign.

“Today is a great day for Volvo Group Australia. From the trucking industry to everyone here at Wacol – thank you for helping us deliver the goods for Australia."

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