IVECO claims the edge in local manufacturing

An Australian manufacturing presence is providing Iveco’s ACCO model with a competitive edge in the marketplace, while also creating local jobs, according to Michael Jonson, IVECO Australia Managing Director. 

Over the years, Australia’s automotive industry has experienced a tumultuous period of change, following the withdrawal of many local automotive operations.

Supporting jobs and providing prompt customer service are just two of the benefits local manufacturing bring to Australia, a key priority for truck manufacturers IVECO Australia.

Since 1952, IVECO has manufactured and distributed light, medium and heavy commercial vehicles for the Australian road transport industry. In that time, its local manufacturing plant, in the Melbourne suburb of Dandenong, has produced more than 230,000 trucks and bus chassis.

IVECO currently employs approximately 150 staff in the manufacturing process, and as well as these direct jobs, the company has strong links to a broader nationwide supply chain of more than 200 businesses, resulting in employment for hundreds more Australian manufacturing workers.

IVECO Australia Managing Director Michael Jonson says it is one of the few remaining commercial vehicle brands to manufacture here, having undertaken a recent expansion to boost its reach in the local manufacturing base.

He says a long-time favourite for the demanding world of refuse collection applications is the company’s ACCO range.

Designed and built at IVECO’s Dandenong facility, approximately 85 per cent of the ACCO’s componentry is Australian sourced.

The local components include the dual control system and the cabin, pressed and welded in Dandenong. This is complemented by a premium American driveline that includes leading names such as Cummins, Allison, Meritor and Hendrickson – all refuse industry staples.

Although the latest ACCO model range can trace its lineage to 1972, aside from the basic cabin shell and the famous ACCO nameplate, there have been numerous advancements to the technology over time.

Well over 4000 design modifications and additions have been made to the ACCO over the years, ensuring the model has continued to evolve to best suit its target applications, most notably compactor and concrete agitator work.

What started as a tough, no-nonsense, practical workhorse designed primarily for use in the Australian defence forces, the ACCO has become more sophisticated and user-friendly, while maintaining its ruggedness and robust reliability.

Michael says this local evolution coupled with local manufacturing has important benefits, both for IVECO and the trucks’ end-users.

“Unlike many other competing models, the ACCO is specifically designed for Australian conditions and our unique market requirements.

“There are more than 25 engineers heavily involved in local research and development work to ensure that the ACCO and IVECO’s other locally produced models are fit for task.”

Michael says that one of the main advantages of local manufacturing is greater flexibility, offering buyers a high level of customisation and availability.

“The fully imported models marketed by competitors provide a limited choice. This is because anything that a buyer requires that extends beyond a handful of variations needs to be organised at additional cost with a local body builder and involves a longer build process,” he says.

“In comparison, the ACCO can be modified on the production line to suit the truck’s intended application. Bolt holes and other fastening points can be customised as can the positioning of auxiliary components such as fuel, air tanks, exhaust systems and other similar items.

“We aim to be responsive to our customers’ needs, from building a one-off design to hundreds of copies. We can also paint down the line in our customers’ choice of colour to suit their company livery. All this in-house process provides a faster delivery time while remaining cost competitive.”

Michael adds that from a service and maintenance perspective, local production also has benefits, such as reduced downtime. Using the ACCO as an example, most parts are produced and sourced locally, so even less common components are faster to locate and fit.

Aside from the ACCO, IVECO’s other locally produced models include the Powerstar heavy duty truck range and Metro and Delta bus chassis – these feature up to 65 per cent local content. The Stralis AS-L models are also built with 55 per cent local componentry.

Michael says IVECO is bucking the trend in local manufacturing by recently starting production on the Stralis ATi 6×2 and 6×4 models, which were previously fully imported from Europe.

Read the full story on page 54 of Issue 13.