IVECO’s local production will be further supported by the Stralis ATi – a previously imported model.
Last year, IVECO announced it would increase the range of models manufactured at its Melbourne facility. The company says the decision was welcomed by customers and the broader commercial vehicle industry.
The vehicle was previously sold in Australia as the Stralis ATi – a fully imported model. But from the first quarter of 2018, the Stralis ATi began local assembly, changing its model nomenclature to ‘AT’. The removal of the ‘i’ signifies the end of its previous import status.
In welcomed news for the broader local manufacturing industry, selected components are now all sourced locally, including mirrors, fifth wheel mounting angles, trailer connections, batteries, wheels and liquids (oils and lubricants, radiator and brake fluids, etc).
THE BIGGER PICTURE
IVECO believes the addition of a second Stralis model to the local manufacturing mix creates a strong business case to further increase the scope of local manufacturing works.
In the future, IVECO’s Australian workers will have greater involvement in the assembly process of these models.
The addition of the Stralis AT to the local production mix has seen investment in tooling and software at the Dandenong facility to calibrate the AT’s adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning systems. The company has also introduced new technology to the site that could be used for other models in the future.
The Stralis AT and AS-L ranges join several other of IVECO’s locally-manufactured commercial vehicle models, including the ACCO, which has been built in Dandenong for over 40 years.
Australian buyers will see several benefits from the local production of AT models: including reduced lead times from vehicle order to delivery and the ability to customise orders with factory-fitted special options and local accessories.
IVECO’s local engineers are also heavily involved in the installation of new Euro 6-rated Cursor engines for both the AT and AS-L variants.
The Australian engineering team is now continuing its real market testing on a selection of these engines. For months, a number of vehicles have been amassing hundreds of thousands of validation, compliance and general testing kilometres in real-world fleet conditions prior to their introduction to the production line later this year.
During the evaluation phase, the vehicles will cover a minimum of 300,000 kilometres each, with performance data being downloaded and analysed on a weekly basis. The trucks’ fluids are also being sampled every 25,000 kilometres.
The local development and validation is being undertaken in conjunction with FPT (Fiat Powertrain), which has the ability to monitor the vehicle from the other side of the world with a telematics system.
IVECO Australia Marketing Manager, Darren Swenson, said the increase in local production and development highlights the company’s commitment to Australian manufacturing, and was proof of the high importance in which this market was held by IVECO globally.
“IVECO is one of a limited number of commercial vehicle brands that continue to manufacture here – this latest expansion in Australian-based production demonstrates the company’s commitment to having a strong local manufacturing presence,” Mr Swenson said.
He said the addition of Stralis AT variants to the local production mix, along with the validation of new power plants and other initiatives, will ultimately see a modest increase in the facility’s manufacturing workforce. He said this is good for the local workforce, not only for third party parts suppliers, but also for Australian truck buyers who can further reap the benefits that locally-manufactured vehicles provide.
“The expansion of local production not only reflects a strong belief from IVECO Australia that local manufacturing is sustainable, but the initiative is also strongly supported by IVECO’s parent company – CNH Industrial,” Mr Swenson said.