As PACCAR celebrates its 50th year of manufacturing in Australia, together with the handover of its 70,000th truck, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg visited the brand’s Bayswater plant, celebrating its achievements.
He was joined by Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar, Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz, Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister Kevin Hogan, ATA Chair David Smith and ATA CEO Andrew McKellar, who toured the Kenworth factory before walking through the ‘Kenworth Avenue of Honour’ to a formal presentation.
During the tour, Frydenberg had the chance to check the paint quality of a newly sprayed cab and try his hand at screwing the iconic Kenworth badge onto a truck’s bonnet. He then climbed into the cab of a Kenworth T610 SAR and started her up, before giving the horn a loud honk.
Staff and guests gathered together, alongside the first fully Australian built Kenworth, which returned to its origins for the occasion – a K125CR known as the ‘Grey Ghost’.
“During the past 50 years, PACCAR has manufactured 70,000 trucks in this plant. We are extremely proud of this achievement and honoured that the Treasurer and his colleagues have joined us to show their support for our industry,” Managing Director of PACCAR Australia, Andrew Hadjikakou said.
“As with any anniversary, it’s an occasion made all the more special by sharing it with others. And we are humbled to have so special guests here today to do just that.
“It’s often said that the only time you should look back is to understand how far you’ve come. 50 years ago, we manufactured one model, the Kenworth K125. One day a truck was our production target, with the aspiration perhaps of reaching two trucks per day. Everything was hand-assembled by a 100-strong workforce.
“Not everything has changed though. Kenworth began manufacturing in this country with the philosophy to application engineer each truck individually. Every one of them is as unique as the customers who buy them. To work here is to share in that understanding and the responsibility that comes with us. That’s what unites us, that’s what drives our culture of making things better every day. It always has and it always will.”
The 70,000 truck was also due to be handed over to Brown and Hurley, PACCAR’s largest and longest serving dealer, which this year celebrates its 75th anniversary. But due to the floods, the truck unfortunately wasn’t able to be there for the occasion.
Brown and Hurley was started in 1946, by two army mates named Alan Brown and Jack Hurley, who had just returned from WWII. “They fulfilled their dream to open a small garage workshop. It didn’t remain small for long. Brown and Hurley would go on to become Kenworth’s first dealer appointed in 1964. They have sold more Kenworths than any other dealer group in the country. Today the Brown and Hurley Group comprises of nine dealerships across Queensland and NSW. They have received the Kenworth Dealer of the Year Award a record 14 times,” explained Hadjikakou.
“In this, their 75th year, it’s only appropriate that today Brown and Hurley become the new owners and take the keys of our 70,000th Kenworth. I hear people asking, ‘where is the 70,000th Kenworth?’ well ladies and gentlemen, we all know nothing stops a Kenworth, expect perhaps a once in a lifetime flood. Our 70,000th Kenworth is trapped in floods in Moree, NSW. Destined to arrive yesterday, sadly she didn’t beat the floods and is now waiting for a safe passage back to Bayswater. But that won’t dampen our enthusiasm for this wonderful event.
“They distribute and support Paccar products, and during their 75 year journey have grown the business to 11 locations, providing 460 Australian jobs.
“PACCAR dealers make us great. Our PACCAR dealer principals, many who have travelled a long distance to attend today, are with us. The strength of PACCAR across the land and the strength of our brands is a testament to our dealers’ loyalty to PACCAR. May we share many more moments like this for decades to come.”
Hadjikakou spoke of PACCAR’s achievements.”Today, we manufacture 12 models, some carry the Kenworth bug and others the DAF brand. Today our work workforce numbers exceed 1200. Our manufacturing facility is now 10 times the size it was. It has the capacity to manufacture 21 trucks each day. It took 17 years for this plant to build its first 10,000 trucks. The last 10,000 we did in just two and a half years.
“To our wonderful employees, this is PACCAR’s anniversary. It’s your collective effort that has brought us to this moment. Thank you to each and every one of you for pursuing world-class quality. By doing this, you have created a thriving and viable place to work. You have breathed life into our logo of 50 years of Australian made, world’s best. Congratulations to you all,” Hadjikakou said.
Looking ahead, there’s plenty more for the brand to look forward to, including the completion of its $40 million factory expansion and a $15 million investment in 2021 for local research and development, software integration and engineering to produce new products in the Bayswater factory.
“Our factory expansion is set to double our manufacturing capacity and will position the organisation for the next 50 years of manufacturing on this site,” he said.