An Australian manufacturing presence is providing Iveco’s venerable ACCO model with a competitive edge in the marketplace, while also creating hundreds of valuable local jobs along the way, according to Iveco Australia Managing Director, Michael Jonson.
A long-time favourite for demanding refuse collection applications, the ACCO is designed and built at Iveco’s Dandenong (Melbourne) manufacturing facility, and approximately 85 percent of the ACCO’s componentry is Australian-sourced.
The local components including the dual control system and the cabin – which is still pressed and welded together in Dandenong – is complemented by a premium American driveline that includes leading names such as Cummins, Allison, Meritor and Hendrickson – all refuse industry staples.
Although the latest ACCO model range can trace its lineage to 1972, aside from the basic cabin shell and the famous ACCO nameplate, there is little more that links the latest models with their utilitarian ancestors.
Well over 4,000 design modifications and additions have been made to the ACCO over the years, ensuring the model has continued to evolve to best suit its target applications, most notably compactor and concrete agitator work.
What started life as a tough, no-nonsense, practical workhorse designed primarily for use in the Australian defence forces, has over the years become much more sophisticated and user-friendly in civilian life, while not losing its ruggedness or robust reliability.
Iveco Australia Managing Director, Michael Jonson, says this local evolution coupled with local manufacturing, has important benefits, both for Iveco and the trucks’ end-users.
“Unlike many other competing models, the ACCO is specifically-designed for Australian conditions and our unique market requirements,” Michael says.
“There are over 25 engineers heavily involved in local research and development work to ensure that the ACCO and Iveco’s other locally-produced models are fit-for-task.”
Michael says that one of the main advantages of the ACCO being fully manufactured locally is greater flexibility, offering buyers a high level of customisation and availability.
“The fully imported models marketed by competitors provide a limited choice, and anything that a buyer requires that extends beyond a handful of variations needs to be organised at additional cost with a local body builder and involves a longer build process,” he says.
“In comparison, the ACCO can be modified on the production line to suit the truck’s intended application; bolt holes and other fastening points can be customised as can the positioning of auxiliary components such as fuel, air tanks, exhaust systems and other similar items.
“We can be extremely responsive to our customers’ needs, from building a one-off design or hundreds of copies. We can also paint down the line in our customers’ choice of colour to suit their company livery – all this in-house process provides a faster delivery time while remaining very cost competitive.
“For customers, a more efficient build process means a more cost effective buying proposition and a faster build, so the truck is out working and earning money sooner.
“From a service and maintenance perspective, local production also has benefits including reduced downtime. Using the ACCO as an example, most parts are produced and sourced locally, so even less common components are faster to locate and fit,” Michael adds.
Aside from the advantages local manufacturing provides customers, there are also benefits for Australia’s automotive manufacturing workforce which has been decimated in recent years following the withdrawal, or planned withdrawal, of many local automotive operations.
Iveco currently employs approximately 150 staff in the manufacturing process, and as well as these direct jobs, Iveco has strong links to a broader nationwide supply chain of over 200 businesses, resulting in employment for hundreds more Australian manufacturing workers.
Aside from the ACCO, Iveco’s other local-produced models include the Powerstar heavy duty truck range and both Metro & Delta bus chassis – both of these feature up to 65 per cent local content. The Stralis AS-L, AT & AD models are also built here with 55 per cent local componentry.
Iveco is also bucking the trend in local manufacturing by starting production of the Stralis ATi 6x2 and 6x4 models which were previously fully imported from Europe.
Michael says that Iveco’s ongoing local manufacturing presence and recent increase in the locally-produced model mix was proof that building trucks in Australia is viable.
“Iveco is one of only a few remaining commercial vehicle brands to manufacture here – this latest expansion in Australian-based production demonstrates the company’s commitment to having a strong local manufacturing presence,” Michael says.
“The addition of Stralis ATi 6x2 and 6x4 variants – one of Iveco’s best-selling models – to the local production mix along with other initiatives, has seen a modest increase in the facility’s manufacturing workforce, so this is good for the local community but also for Australian truck buyers who can further reap the benefits that locally-manufactured vehicles provide.
“The expansion of local production not only reflects a strong belief from Iveco Australia that local manufacturing is sustainable, but the initiative is also strongly supported by Iveco’s parent company, CNH Industrial.”
Adding the Stralis ATi models to the local production mix has seen the Dandenong facility undergo investment in tooling and software to calibrate the AT’s adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning systems, and in doing so has introduced new technology to the site and paved the way for additional investment in the future for the likes of the ACCO, Australia’s truck.