“Volvo” might be synonymous with safety and Sweden but there’s a third association you might not be aware of: Made in Australia.
Big news this month.
Volvo Group Australia confirmed it will start making all-electric trucks in its Wacol factory in Queensland – Australia’s largest vehicle manufacturing facility – from 2027.
Their announcement comes only months after the company started production of its heavy-duty electric trucks at its Gothenburg factory in Sweden.
Volvo’s news is an important signal. The fact the company is reported to have won a series of significant orders for its electric trucks in Australia no doubt contributed to this significant manufacturing decision.
But this announcement adds substantial weight to the idea of re-establishing Australia as a full-scale new-vehicle-manufacturing nation, this time with EVs (electric vehicles).
The fact Volvo announced this good news so soon after beginning full production of their heavy duty electric trucks at home in Sweden indicates this was a decision made some time ago.
And a quick look at Volvo’s Australian history shows why it was such a natural choice.
The company has produced more than 50,000 trucks at its Wacol plant since 1972. Today, Volvo builds its FH, FH16, FM and FMX models at its long-standing QLD site, employing around 550 production staff and about 50 engineers with around 90 local component suppliers in the mix.
And one of the reasons they build their new vehicles in Australia?
“For the demanding conditions that are unique to Australia and New Zealand.”
We’ve done a lot of heavy-vehicle engineering (and re-engineering) programs over the years. It’s specialised stuff. And it’s almost always driven by the need to meet specific market conditions.
So, what does Volvo’s decision show?
It’s another example of why Australia’s a natural choice as a new-vehicle manufacturing centre.
Not all automakers are just searching for lower-cost labour or favourable in-country tax rates.
Subsidies and tax treaties can be negotiated in weeks and months.
But vehicle-making skills and know-how take decades and generations to get right. And not many countries have them.
Going to the trouble of fully re-establishing (and growing) Australia’s manufacturing sector has a lot of pay-offs. Foreign investment, local businesses and jobs, education and training, societal pay-offs, and so on. Not to mention strategic advantages.
It’s great to see companies like Volvo expanding their local manufacturing commitments.
Let’s hope it inspires others.
Bernie Quinn – Engineering Director, Premcar Pty Ltd
About Premcar – Premcar Pty Ltd is a leading Australian vehicle engineering business that specialises in the automotive, defence and aerospace industries. For more than 25 years, global car-makers have made Premcar their go-to partner for the complete design, engineering and manufacture of niche-model new cars, full-scale new-vehicle development programs, and electric vehicle (EV) conversions and manufacturing. As the name behind more than 200,000 new cars and 55,000 new-vehicle engines, Premcar’s body of work is extensive and has delivered technical and sales success for major car brands from Europe, the USA, Japan, China and Australia. Visit premcar.com.
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