Volvo has made a $165 million statement about the importance of the Australian market with the Swedish company and its local partners set to invest in new dealership and service centres over the next two years.
Global president Claes Nilsson announced the spend in a recent visit down under, his first in a decade with $65 million directly from Volvo, and the remainder from its privately owned dealerships: CMV in Victoria and South Australia and Truck Centre in Western Australia.
“Australia is important to us. There are many similarities between the demands we find in Australia and some of the Nordic countries — that is, heavy roads and tough weather conditions,” Nilsson said.
“We are pleased with our progress here. The business is very healthy for us. Australia is a very important market in terms of extreme conditions — for example the weight and length of road trains, so we use Australia to test new things and features.”
Volvo Trucks announced a $30 million investment in its new Australian headquarters in Wacol, while its production facility is the largest assembly plant for heavy-trucks in Australia.
In the past six years, Volvo has invested $27 million in the factory to accommodate the new Volvo FH model, with a further $3.7 upgrade to the chassis treatment process approved just this month.
Nilsson added Volvo is constantly looking at its Australian operations and areas where the brand can improve and maintain its market relevance.
“We are very pleased and happy with the business we have in Australia. We will continue to invest in manufacturing here,” he said.
“We need bigger service facilities around Sydney. We are looking at products all the time. It will be on a case-by-case basis.
“For us, it makes a lot of sense to continue to produce product in Australia. We have specific features and solutions for Australia that we see continuing.
About 550 of Volvo’s 1400-person Australian workforce is directly involved in manufacturing and a further 50 are involved with research and development and engineering.
Volvo has grown its market share over the past three years by 4.2 per cent, from 12 to 16.2 per cent.