Still made lo­cally in Aus­tralia

Big Rigs - - TECH TALK / AUSSIE MADE -

AS AUS­TRALIA’S au­to­mo­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try seem­ingly drew its last breath when the Holden plant closed in Elizabeth, South Aus­tralia, we are re­minded not all hope is lost.

In this edi­tion, Big Rigs has con­tin­ued to delve deeper into th­ese man­u­fac­tur­ers that have made a com­mit­ment to ex­ist on Aus­tralian shores.

Mack Trucks is one of the three, hav­ing carved the brand’s legacy as an Aus­tralian man­u­fac­turer in 1963 when it opened a fac­tory in three World War II air­craft hang­ers in Archer­field, Bris­bane.

Three years later, Mack Trucks re­lo­cated to a fa­cil­ity in Rock­lea and in 1981 opened a new fa­cil­ity in Rich­lands.

As Volvo Trucks ac­quired both Re­nault and Mack the pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties con­tin­ued in Bris­bane, in­te­grat­ing at the Wa­col plant in 2001, where they re­main to­day.

Now about 450 Aus­tralians are part of the pro­duc­tion op­er­a­tion, with the ad­di­tion of about 50 Aus­tralian en­gi­neers.

Volvo Group Aus­tralia pres­i­dent Peter Voorho­eve told Big Rigs it was the unique needs of the Aus­tralian mar­ket that had shielded its man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties from sim­i­lar fates to Holden and Ford.

“In Aus­tralia we have a spe­cific en­vi­ron­ment for road trans­port,” he said.

“It is highly cus­tomised, so it’s not al­ways eas­ier to do it in the US or Europe.”

While not every piece of the ve­hi­cle is man­u­fac­tured at the plant, more than 85 lo­cal sup­pli­ers de­liver more than 3500 com­po­nents to the fac­tory, half of which are man­u­fac­tured lo­cally.

Look­ing at cur­rent trends Mr Voorho­eve be­lieves it won’t be all bad news into the fu­ture.

To date, the com­pany has pro­duced more than 50,000 ve­hi­cles at the Wa­col fa­cil­ity.

PHOTOS: CONTRIBUTED

STILL GO­ING: Volvo’s pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties at Wa­col are still busy.

BIG WHEELS: Build­ing from the ground up. :

LIN­ING UP: As­sem­bly at work.

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