FIRST AUSSIE-BUILT DAF SNAPPED UP

PACCAR make his­tory with DAF launch

Big Rigs - - FRONT PAGE - Barry Reynolds

THE first DAF truck to be as­sem­bled in Aus­tralia rolled out of the PACCAR fa­cil­ity in Vic­to­ria re­cently and was handed straight over to Cahill Trans­port.

PACCAR closed it assem­bly line for the pre­sen­ta­tion – at its Bayswa­ter plant in the eastern sub­urbs of Melbourne – to al­low its 500 em­ploy­ees to take part in what man­ag­ing di­rec­tor An­drew Had­jikakou de­scribed as an his­toric event.

“The PACCAR way is to cre­ate his­tory,” Mr Had­jikakou said.

“And to­day as we hand over the keys to the very first Aus­tralian-as­sem­bled DAF truck... we at PACCAR are do­ing just that.

“The DAF you are about to see is al­ready a great Aus­tralian suc­cess story. This first Aus­tralian-built DAF is world-class qual­ity.”

The delivery of the 510HP DAF CF85 was the prod­uct of years of co-op­er­a­tion and con­sul­ta­tion with the DAF head­quar­ters in Eind­hoven, Nether­lands, and be­comes the fifth DAF fa­cil­ity world­wide.

“The Dutch and the Aus­tralians have worked truly well to­gether to re­alise this one am­bi­tion of ours, to as­sem­ble DAFs here in Bayswa­ter,” Mr Had­jikakou said.

In hand­ing over the keys to the first DAF to Cahill Trans­port own­ers Mick and Dan Cahill, Mr Had­jikakou said the trans­port com­pany bought it first DAF in 2003 and now had a fleet of 70.

“I can’t think of a more ap­pro­pri­ate home for our first Aus­tralian-built DAF.”

Mr Had­jikakou also an­nounced that the Bayswa­ter PACCAR plant would dou­ble in size by 2021, which could also lead to an al­most dou­bling of the staff. The plant cur­rently rolls out Ken­worth trucks.

“We will be able to build more trucks at a high level of qual­ity and even bet­ter safety,” Mr Had­jikakou said.

“This is an in­vest­ment that’s about con­fi­dence and com­mit­ment.”

A team of a 10 Aus­tralian PACCAR per­son­nel, led by pro­duc­tion su­per­vi­sor Mered­ith Young, spent two weeks in the Nether­lands learn­ing about DAF trucks and how they were as­sem­bled.

“It ex­posed our peo­ple to new tech­niques and new skills and new ideas,” Mr Had­jikakou said.

“Those peo­ple are now shar­ing that di­ver­sity with us in ways that are some­times small and other ways are quite pro­found.

“This is chang­ing our busi­ness for the bet­ter.”

Ms Young said it had been a dif­fi­cult job to choose just 10 em­ploy­ees to make the jour­ney to Europe, given “the extensive pool of tal­ent that ex­ist be­tween the four walls of this fac­tory”.

“But it was not un­til we got hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence that our ap­pre­ci­a­tion of this fan­tas­tic prod­uct re­ally grew,” Ms Young said.

“The DAF re­ally is an ex­cep­tional truck. We are so proud to be as­sem­bling them lo­cally for our cus­tomers.”

The lo­cal assem­bly should also shorten lead times from ini­tial or­der­ing and give cus­tomers more op­tions.

In ac­cept­ing the first DAF off the assem­bly line, Dan Cahill said it was a great hon­our to add the truck to its extensive fleet.

“We see them [DAF trucks] as an in­te­gral part of our busi­ness in help­ing us pro­vide an ef­fi­cient and eco­nom­i­cal so­lu­tion to our

■ PACCAR, a US com­pany, has been build­ing and sell­ing trucks in Aus­tralia for 50 years

■ The Bayswa­ter plant pro­duces 15 trucks a day, in­clud­ing Ken­worths – 11 are pro­duced by the day shift and four on the night­shift

■ DAF be­came a Paccar com­pany in 1998 when Paccar Aus­tralian be­gan im­port­ing DAF trucks

■ It has since de­liv­ered 3,500 trucks to lo­cal busi­nesses

■ DAF has been in the truck busi­ness for 85 years

■ The com­pany sold its one mil­lionth ve­hi­cle world­wide in 2015

cus­tomers, while also pro­vid­ing a safe and com­fort­able work­place for our driv­ers – they love them,” Mr Cahill said.

Mr Cahill and his brother Mick last year vis­ited Eind­hoven, where they were able to test drive the lat­est trucks be­ing pro­duced at the DAF plant.

“They were in­cred­i­ble. They were easy to drive and their fuel econ­omy was sen­sa­tional,” Dan Cahill said.

And now he pre­dicts a big

fu­ture for the trucks in Aus­tralia.

“It is only the be­gin­ning of the fu­ture in the his­tory books for DAF,” he said.

“I would like to con­grat­u­late all of you here to­day on pro­duc­ing such a beau­ti­ful, iconic, hard-work­ing ve­hi­cle and I hope that... our part­ner­ship con­tin­ues for many years.”

Melbourne ra­dio sta­tion 3AW also cel­e­brated the event, with a live broad­cast of its af­ter­noon pro­gram hosted by Tom El­liott.

PHOTOS: VOSS PHOTOGRAPHY

BRAND NEW RIG: Brothers Dan and Michael Cahill show off their new DAF.

Michael Cahill at the PACCAR plant.

A mas­sive turnout for the launch of the first Aussie-built DAF.

An­drew Had­jikakou at the launch.

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