Volvo Group Australia delivers its 75,000th truck

A Hunter Valley transport operator has been handed the keys to the 75,000th Volvo to be built locally in Australia at the Wacol factory – a FH16 700.

Hill’s Tankers has been buying Volvos since Andrew Hill’s parents Paul and Netta Hill started the business in Maitland in the 1960s; and there are now over 40 Volvos in the fleet.

“It’s an incredible honour to take possession of this truck. I learnt to drive in a Volvo F7, and I’ve had a lifelong association with Volvo, so to own the 75,000th one is almost unbelievable,” said Andrew.

“Volvos are made here in Australia and that’s important to me, I’ll always prefer a locally-built truck over an import.”

Vice president Volvo Group Australia (VGA) , Gary Bone, this morning handed the keys to the milestone truck over to Andrew and Vicki Hill.

“This is a landmark for Volvo Group Australia,” he said. “It perfectly demonstrates the company’s commitment to the Australian transport industry, and we’re particularly delighted to be able to deliver this truck to Hills Tankers, who are a long-standing Volvo customer.”

Bone added that the success of the Volvo range has always come from the Volvo’s core values of quality, safety and environmental care.

“You don’t sell this many trucks by accident, and Volvo have consistently had these three values underpinning their design philosophy. We put people first and the result is clear to see.”

According to Andrew, that design philosophy aligns well to his own business. “We’re keen advocates of quality and safety – we only hire the most experienced and skilled professionals right across our business – and we expect the tools we give our people to be the best available. Volvo’s trucks are the safest and most reliable in the market,” he said.

(l-r): Per-Erik Lindstrom, SVP Volvo Trucks International, Vicki Hill, Andrew Hill and Roger Alm, president Volvo Trucks.

“Volvo’s focus on the environmental aspects of heavy transport have always made them a leader in this area. We’re in the business of transporting fuels and vegetable oils, so we’ve got a clear interest in the development of biodiesel and sustainable aviation fuels. That’s where the future lies, and we’ll be carrying them in tankers pulled by Volvos.”

The 75,000th Volvo is a major milestone for VGA’s manufacturing facility in Wacol, Queensland.

“With this truck, VGA has demonstrated that automotive manufacturing is alive and well in Australia,” said Bone.

“Our Wacol plant has been operating since 1972, and it’s earned us a place in the Australian Made Campaign – we’re proud to say that every Volvo we build carries the iconic green- and-gold ‘Australian Made’ logo.

“The plant makes a huge economic contribution to the local area— without any government subsidies—and supports approximately 85 local suppliers delivering more than 3500 different components, many of which are produced here in Australia.”

For Andrew, who runs many combinations under Performance Based Standards, having trucks built locally makes it easier to get trucks that meet particular specifications of local regulations.

“It can be pretty exacting getting accreditation,” said Andrew. “Truck lengths and tare weights have to be just right to maximise payloads while meeting the specifications. Having a local manufacturer makes that easier.”

But it’s not just the trucks that have led Andrew to have more than 40 Volvos in his fleet.

“We have our Volvos on service agreements with VCV Australia. They give us predictability of servicing costs and of scheduling, and we know the parts will always be available. This maximises the time our trucks are on the road and makes forward planning simpler,” Andrew added.

In celebrating the milestone truck for VGA, Bone also paid tribute to the people on the factory floor and in the dealerships.

“One of the best things about being a part of VGA is our people,” he said. “Everyone on the floor at Wacol had a role in building that truck, and the tens of thousands that have come before it, and the people in the dealerships keep them on the road. It’s their spirit and determination, and their obsession with quality that have made VGA the force in the Australian transport market that is today.

“When we built our 60,000th truck back in 2017, we said we were here to stay. Here we are six years later and we’ve produced 25 per cent of that number again. Given the economic conditions we’ve experienced in that time, that’s nothing short of phenomenal.

“VGA is continuing to invest in our manufacturing plant, and in our nationwide dealer network. Australia is a key market for this company, and this truck proves that beyond doubt. I’m looking forward to seeing truck 100,000 roll off the line.”

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