Still made locally in Australia
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.
STILL GOING: Volvo’s production facilities at Wacol are still busy.
BIG WHEELS: Building from the ground up. :
LINING UP: Assembly at work.