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DAF trucks to be made in Australia

Heavy lifter: DAF trucks are set to get the Australian-made tag after Paccar Australia announced an expansion of its manufacturing operation in Bayswater, Victoria, from 2018.

Paccar to build DAF trucks alongside Kenworth as heavy truck sales boom

13 Dec 2017

By RON HAMMERTON

MASS car manufacturing might have come to a screeching halt in Australia with the exit of the Toyota and Holden factories in October, but the truck-building business at Paccar Australia is headed in the other direction – up – as national heavy truck sales boom.

The Melbourne-based truck-maker and distributor has announced it will add DAF trucks to its local manufacturing operation in the second half of 2018, producing them on a dedicated line in the Bayswater factory where it has long built Kenworth heavy trucks for Australia and New Zealand.

Paccar is one of three major truck-makers in Australia, with the others being Iveco in Dandenong, Victoria, and Volvo Group Trucks – producer of Volvo and Mack trucks – in Wacol, in the western suburbs of Brisbane, Queensland.

Italian-owned Iveco also recently announced an expansion of its Australian-made range, adding the Stralis AT to its existing production of Acco and Stralis AS-L models.

Paccar Australia has imported DAF trucks since 1998, but has now decided to make some of them here in what the company describes as “an outstanding vote of confidence in Paccar Australia and Australian manufacturing as a whole”.

The announcement came as Paccar Australia – a subsidiary of American-based Paccar Inc – celebrated the handover of its 60,000th locally made Kenworth truck over 51 years.

Paccar Australia managing director Andrew Hadjikakou said making DAF trucks locally had been a discussion point within Paccar as DAF’s Australian sales had risen in recent years.

“We are delighted to now be able to use the skills and facilities of Bayswater and its people to invest in DAF’s future here too,” he said. “This is a great indication of the foresight and faith of our parent company.

“It makes sense to do this, to employ the skills and quality workmanship of our employees and further use the world-class engineering and production facilities of our Bayswater plant.”

Founded in Holland 85 years ago and now with factories in the Netherlands, Britain and Brazil, DAF has shipped more than 4500 vehicles to Australia in the past 19 years.

Most of the DAF trucks bound for Australia will continue to be made at the Paccar-owned Leyland factory in the UK, but Paccar Australia has indicated DAF local production might be expanded in future.

Heavy commercial vehicle companies sold 33,371 trucks in Australia to the end of November, up a handy 11.6 per cent on the same period 2016 and headed for the best year since the pre-GFC record of 37,231 in 2007.

Among the local heavy haulers, Kenworth was the biggest with more than 2000 sales year to date, with Iveco coming in at 1703 units, Volvo at 1673 and Mack at 933.

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