Bulldogs steel it
Big Macks are earning a reputation for reliability in construction, writesGRAHAMSMITH
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.