It is a little known fact that Volvo Trucks first established a production facility in 1972, building heavy duty trucks in Wacol, Brisbane, Queensland.
Take a leap forward to 2017, and that same Wacol facility not only remains in operation, but has become Australia’s largest vehicle manufacturing powerhouse.
Building trucks in Australia for Australian conditions
Volvo Trucks recognised very early on the operating challenges that customers faced in Australia – heavier loads, greater distances, a climate ranging from the hot and dusty and Outback, to the ice and snow of the Snowy Mountains. In short, conditions that make trucks work harder than just about anywhere in the world.
Since those first days in 1972, Volvo Trucks Australian engineers have used globally proven platforms and the latest technologies to design and test trucks that are tailored for the unique Australian conditions.
By listening closely to customers, Volvo Trucks have been able to produce trucks that are locally engineered, to suit Australian conditions and individual customer requirements.
An Australian manufacturing success story:
It’s in part because of this local production that Volvo Trucks have become the truck of choice for both Australian transport companies and drivers. This, coupled with class leading customer satisfaction, outstanding driver ergonomics and leading safety features makes the Volvo Truck purchase decision an easy one.
What’s more, Volvo Trucks has officially joined the Australian Made Campaign, being awarded certification to carry the iconic ‘Australian Made’ logo. Joining the campaign means that Volvo Trucks are currently the only cab-over truck manufacturer to have been awarded the prestigious Australian Made certification.
A strong local employer
The brand wears the Australian Made logo with pride in part because of the jobs it supports. The Wacol plant is a significant part of Brisbane’s manufacturing base, employing almost 500 people – close to 450 people employed directly in the production process and about 50 dedicated engineers.
But its reach extends well beyond the production floor. To keep the trucks rolling off the assembly line, the Wacol factory supports local manufacturing, having around 85 local component suppliers. The flow-on effects can’t be underestimated – those firms then provide their own employment opportunities and support their local communities. Volvo does this without any government subsidies.
Volvo is in it for the long haul
Volvo Trucks commitment is a long-term one.
Volvo is continually improving the Wacol plant, having invested over $27m in the production facility alone in the last six years with plans for further investment in the factory over the coming years. This includes a further $3.7m recently committed to the chassis treatment and cab paint process.
But Volvo’s commitment goes beyond the Wacol plant. Together with private partners, Volvo has invested and continues to invest heavily in the largest dealer and customer service network in Australia and New Zealand – with a total of $160m in the four years to 2018. In 2018 alone, this investment will create a new national headquarters as well as new dealerships in both Sydney and Brisbane.
Developing its workforce to meet a rapidly changing employment landscape
The future for Volvo Trucks in Australia is about more than plants and dealerships though, it’s about people. Technology is rapidly transforming the workplace and manufacturing is recognised as being in the ‘firing’ line. Volvo Trucks sees this as an opportunity rather than a challenge. The company embraces a culture of career development, skill development opportunities, and internal staff progression to create the managers of tomorrow.
Celebrate with us
Volvo Trucks has come a long way since 1972, and have done it with little fanfare. The company is demonstrating that, despite recent closures in car manufacturing, automotive manufacturing is alive and well in Australia – Volvo’s success has endured and will continue to do so for many years to come