Volvo Bus and bus body builder, Volgren are marking more than four decades of partnership in the bus business with the two companies set to launch Volvo’s new BZL electric bus chassis in Australia, with the first four being built with Volgren bodies.
With Volvo recently marking its 50 years in Australia, the company is also reflect on the long-term partnerships that have contributed to its success.
“As we reflect on our 50 years in Australia, VBA is grateful to have had Volgren play such a big part in our journey,” said Mitch Peden, general manager of Volvo Bus Australia.
“As a trusted business partner since the late-70s, we couldn’t be more thrilled to have our first four Volvo BZL electric chassis units fitted with Volgren bodies,” said Peden.
“It is the joint dedication of the people at VBA and Volgren to delivering safe, reliable and sustainable solutions to our customers, that has enabled successful ongoing partnership over the past 44 years and we look forward to seeing what we can further achieve together in the future,” he added.
Volvo says that the partnership with Volgren in particular is a highly successful working relationship dating back to the late-70s.
Volvo Bus approached the principal of Grenda Corporation, Ken Grenda in 1977, to discuss becoming a chassis distributor. Grenda had historically deployed American and British buses, but recognised the potential for Volvo’s reliable European chassis, and the two organisations marked the beginning of the partnership.
The result was the birth of Volgren –amalgamating Volvo and Grenda and the partnership also saw the beginning of a link with Swiss company Hess, a specialised builder of extruded aluminium bus bodies in Europe. That collaboration saw Volgren using Hess materials to fit bodies on Volvo chassis.
VBA would release its first complete bus with Volgren in 1979, a B58 mid-engine Volvo chassis with a Hess aluminium body, built by Volgren.
This B58 was the first of many Volgren bodied Volvo buses to enter Australia’s fleets and ever since Volgren has built bodies locally across the country at facilities at Eagle Farm in Brisbane, Dandenong in Victoria and Malaga in Perth, as part of Volvo and Volgren’s commitment to local manufacturing.
Volvo and Volgren say that since the late 1970s, they have shared similar values and principles, with Volvo’s ‘values of quality, safety and environmental care running parallel to the mission of Volgren which has enabled them to remain trusted and reliable business partners, dedicated to delivering customer success’.
The companies say that the shared dedication to these values has also allowed Volvo and Volgren to collectively achieve positive business outcomes, in supporting various large government fleets over the years,
including The Public Transport Authority of Western Australia, Brisbane City Council, State Transit Authority of New South Wales and a large number of private operators nationally.
Thiago Deiro, CEO of Volgren said he was exceptionally proud of the partnership with Volvo, which is one of the longest and most productive in the history of the Australian bus industry.
“It’s a partnership built on mutual respect and trust. We have been prime contractors for each other on massive projects – some of the biggest and most important supply contracts in Australia. We know that we can count on Volvo and they can count on us,” Diero said.
“It’s also a partnership defined by its openness,” he added.
“We are companies eager to learn from one another. The Volvo and Volgren engineering teams, for example, liaise with each other on a daily basis – I know they have certainly met with that kind of frequency during the Volvo BZL Electric – e-bus project.”
“When you work with Volvo you work with a team that is responsive to discussion. They are a company open to different options, to alternatives and changes that make the end product better. We believe we offer the same to them,” he said.