Bull­dogs steel it

Big Macks are earn­ing a rep­u­ta­tion for reli­a­bil­ity in construction, writesGRAHAMSMITH

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

WHEN your trucks are work­ing to a tight sched­ule ev­ery day de­liv­er­ing steel to build­ing sites, reli­a­bil­ity is ev­ery­thing.

It’s the key con­sid­er­a­tion for Grant D’Al­te­rio when he de­cides on the brand of truck he will buy for his spe­cial­ist fleet.

D’Al­te­rio’s fleet is al­most all Macks and has been since he be­gan up­grad­ing to the bull­dog brand in the early 2000s.

‘‘It’s a no-brainer,’’ he says, ‘‘be­cause they’ve been ul­tra­reli­able.

‘‘You have prob­lems with any truck,’’ he says mat­ter-of-factly, ‘‘but we haven’t had any prob­lem with the Macks that we haven’t been able to get a sat­is­fac­tory an­swer out of the dealer or the com­pany.’’

L. D’Al­te­rio Trans­port is a gen­eral car­rier op­er­at­ing mainly in Vic­to­ria, with a smaller branch in Queens­land.

The Queens­land op­er­a­tion hauls a va­ri­ety of freight, but the Vic­to­rian op­er­a­tion spe­cialises in trans­port­ing gal­vanised struc­tural steel to build­ing sites.

The com­pany was es­tab­lished soon af­ter World War II when Grant D’Al­te­rio’s fa­ther bought a truck and went to work earn­ing a liv­ing to sup­port his fam­ily.

In the 60 years since, the fam­ily-owned com­pany has ex­panded its fleet to 28, most of which are in Vic­to­ria.

Nearly all are Macks, but that shouldn’t sug­gest D’Al­te­rio has an emo­tional at­tach­ment to the bull­dog brand. He’s a hard-nosed busi­ness­man and his rea­sons for choos­ing Macks are prag­matic.

‘‘Trucks are all the same to me, but they have to be re­li­able what­ever they are,’’ he says.

‘‘The Macks aren’t as ex­pen­sive as it might seem.

‘‘We went with UD in 1982 when they were push­ing into the mar­ket, and they were cheap then, but I was shocked when I found the Mack was cheaper than the Ja­panese when we went shop­ping for trucks again in 2001.’’

Reli­a­bil­ity is the key to keep­ing cus­tomers — and their cus­tomers — happy.

D’Al­te­rio’s lat­est Mack ac­qui­si­tions are four Gran­ite 6x4 prime movers, which are en­ter­ing ser­vice now.

They’re pow­ered by 13-litre six-cylin­der MP8 en­gines rated at 320kW and 2150Nm with 10-speed Mack T310 MLR au­toshift trans­mis­sions, airbag sus­pen­sion and day cabs.

Power isn’t cru­cial, D’Al­te­rio says, be­cause his trucks rarely run up to their max­i­mum al­low­able weights.

More im­por­tant is the truck’s abil­ity to ma­noeu­vre into tight spa­ces on build­ing sites. That comes down to the length, wheel­base, turn­ing cir­cle and driver’s vis­i­bil­ity out of the cab. The au­toshift also makes it eas­ier for driv­ers work­ing around the city.

D’Al­te­rio’s ex­pe­ri­ence is that they cut fuel bills by 5-10 per cent.

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