When popular UD Trucks Australia head man John Bushell announced he would be retiring it sent shock waves through the local transport scene, particularly since John had been extremely active promoting the UD brand across a wide sector of the industry with a unique style and fervour. It was evident he would be difficult to replace but Volvo Group Australia has appointed Erik Andersson as his successor and he too has his own personality and style that is sure to win a popular vote.
Erik has a strong business background running his own telecommunications business for many years based in Gothenburg Sweden, but as many in Volvo’s home city do, he joined the company.
“I was working on a large project, a new venture, with a number of other people, that fell over. Living in Gothenburg I had always looked at joining a large company and of course Volvo was a natural as it is the biggest employer in the area. You can learn much from a large company, look at things in a different way, and I contacted Volvo on a Wednesday and started on the following Monday,” Erik says.
“I joined the company and worked there for a number of years and in 2007 moved across to the team at UD Trucks and at the end of that year went to Japan. Just five weeks ago I came to Australia, based in Sydney, and I must admit while at the moment I haven’t had the time to feel as though I am living there, my family is settling in.
“I have been to Australia a number of times and think it is an absolutely fabulous country. The sheer size of it is amazing and the variation in nature you have here is unbelievable. The truck market here is unlike most places in the world and for the past couple of weeks I have been travelling to see customers and listening to their needs and comments and talking to our distribution partners. I need more time to form an opinion of the truck market but I am looking closely at all aspects of the business here,” Erik points out.
“With the new Euro 5 Condor medium duty and Quon heavy duty series trucks we can offer customers a wider choice of trucks to suit exacting application needs and further our sales in both markets.”
He says with a new range of trucks, people within the company feel as though it is a totally new UD, with new direction and drive.
“Now a part of Volvo, it changes the manner in which we do things. In the past two years we have changed our distribution and the front line. The brand has a very good reputation globally and we intend to build on that.
“We haven’t really started to sell the new product yet but indications we have after showing the new trucks at Brisbane and Perth truck shows are that we will reach new goals in the Australian market. We have a very strong range of trucks reaching a wider range of applications and this will be reviewed as we move ahead,” Erik indicates.
“We have a very good team at UD and everybody has a smile on their faces following the release of the new trucks. We see a renewed confidence in all of our people, both in Japan and here in Australia.”
The move to Australia has been welcomed by Erik and his family and it is very much a family affair as Erik’s wife is a design engineer for the Volvo Group.
“My wife enjoys new cultures and new areas,” he says, “she was taken with Japan and its culture and was a part of the engineering team working on the new UD product line-up. The move to Australia was welcomed and we are looking forward to bringing our children up in this great country.”
His arrival at UD Trucks in Australia comes at a time when new direction is a feature of the company’s future path. It is also timely for John Bushell who has been working to facilitate a smooth management transition with new product for the future.
UD established a new sales record in June, re-writing its record books with the biggest retail sales month in the company’s history. Despite economic doom and gloom espoused by many, a total of 132 units were sold through the Australian dealer network, eclipsing the previous best of 131 units posted in March 2006. The result indicated strong end of financial year spending in the transport sector, and was boosted by savings on run-out Euro 4 stock.
The stage is now set for a stronger attack on our truck market with all-new engine, transmission and chassis options and a cab design offering functionality, comfort and safety, with all models now part of a complete truck ‘family’ carrying the UD badge.
“There are exciting times ahead for both our company and our customer and as I said there is a confidence that we are a force to be reckoned with, building on reputation and reliability as never seen before,” Erik says succinctly.
As Erik grasps his new role with both hands we wish John Bushell well and feel sure he will remain around the Australian trucking scene he has been so much a part of.