Lighting and automotive component manufacturer Hella is marking a major milestone in Australia, celebrating its 60th anniversary as a manufacturer and supplier of automotive parts to customer from parts wholesalers and retailers, to vehicle manufacturers and specialists across Australia.

Appropriately for the managing director of a company that is known for its lighting products in particular, Hella Australia’s boss, Darren Robinson said he ‘looks ahead and sees a bright future for the Australian company’.

“Hella Australia was established in 1961 as the first Hella production facility outside Europe,” said Robinson.

“The company was set up to develop and produce lighting for Australian vehicle manufacturers who wanted products that were developed specifically for the unique requirements of Australian vehicles and road users, and to reduce freight times and cost,” he added.

“With a large production facility in Australia and with the development of Hella’s factory in New Zealand in 1973, both aftermarket and special original equipment customers benefitted from the local presence and the Hella brand gained an undeniable reputation for quality, innovation and durability that remains to this day,” Robinson explained.

Hella says it has diversified its offerings to the retail and trade markets in Australia in recent times, ensuring that it ‘remains at the forefront of the rapidly accelerating changes in vehicle technology by expanding its product portfolio to deliver and support the most advanced automotive technology in use today and into the future’.

“Hella Australia today comprises four separate sales divisions, all supported from our 5,800 sqm head office and warehouse at Mentone in Victoria,” Darren Robinson said.

“These specialist sales and technical teams are a large investment for the company, but we truly believe that we need dedicated people with specific experience and passion for each of the numerous customer groups we supply, to ensure we deliver world class service, technical advice and support for their individual requirements,” he added.

“Our independent Aftermarket Division supports our wholesale distributors and, while lighting remains a key focus, our product portfolio to supports workshops with a wide product range comprising of Hella lighting, electrics and electronics, Hella Pagid Brake Systems, Mahle AC and Thermal management programs, and Scangrip lighting. All these European brands are leaders and innovators in their respective fields, and all have a no compromise approach to quality,” Darren said.

“Workshop Equipment is our newest division, having only being set up two years ago. It is staffed by a great team of technical specialists based here in Mentone who are focused on providing access to our Hella Solutions range of diagnostics and Adas calibration equipment, as well as providing training and technical support via our technical helpline.

“We have invested heavily in this area, as we see significant growth potential as vehicle technology continues to develop, and we believe that we have a duty to train and support independent workshops so that they can carry out the same work that the vehicle manufacturers’ franchised workshops provide,” Darren said.

“Hella Australia’s Special OE Divisions for On Highway and Off Highway offers lighting, electrical and electronics solutions for local manufacturers across a wide range of applications including truck, trailer, municipal, leisure, emergency services, mining, marine and agriculture sectors.”

The Hella Group celebrates its 122nd anniversary this year, and Hella Australia says it is firmly committed to remaining a successful partner to the automotive industry as it continues to evolve.

“Our global annual sales tops $9bn, and we have more than 35,000 employees, many of whom are involved in intensive, cutting-edge research and development. We have a strong company and we are dedicated to delivering future-proof solutions to all our customers,” Robinson said.

“The pace in which our industry is changing is relentless and keeping pace requires huge commitment and financial investment. Globally Hella invests around 10 per cent of its annual sales into research and development; that’s approximately $1bn each year.

“This consistent level of investment over many years means that Hella continues to be a key supplier to the world’s leading vehicle manufacturers, which in turn allows us to bring these products and technologies to support our aftermarket and Special Original Equipment customers,”  he added.

With the introduction of Hella Gutmann Solutions, Hella Australia  says it has transitioned from being a parts supplier to providing products and services to support independent workshops in the repair and maintenance process, including the re-calibration of Adas cameras and radar sensors.