DAF is a member of the multinational PACCAR Company that is home to other truck manufacturing brands such as Kentworth, Peterbilt and Leyland. Paccar has been active in Australia since the mid-sixties and boasts a history of over 50 year’s success selling new and used trucks in the region. As the company grew, it acquired controlling stakes in truck and bus manufacturing companies and worked to expand their presence globally. Paccar is now one of the largest and most successful truck and bus production companies in the world.
The unmatched growth of the trucking industry in Australia has made it possible for truck manufacturers like Paccar to increase their interests in the country. Paccar has several distribution centres in the country as well as a truck building facility in Bayswater, Victoria which currently produces 15 Kentworth Trucks a day. This is where the company, working with Australian engineers and technicians, has achieved the feat of building, a DAF CF 85, Australia’s first DAF Truck.
DAF Trucks are famous for innovative groundbreaking technology and this move to begin an assembly line in Australia has been applauded as a giant step in the evolution of the trucking landscape in the region. The high cost of shipping complete trucks into the country has limited the development of the Aussie truck market for decades. With truck manufacturers setting up shop in the subcontinent, the industry will benefit from reduced waiting periods for new trucks. Downtime due to broken down trucks will also be greatly reduced because the locally fabricated truck spares will be readily available.
The DAF CF 85
The choice to make the CF 85 Australia’s first DAF truck is strategic in that this truck is a top performance vehicle that has a proven reliability record. The CF 85 is a stylish, iconic truck that stands out on the lot with its cat’s-eye combi-lights and distinctive aluminium strip on the lower grille.
The truck has a compact yet sturdy external cab design that makes it easy to navigate narrow city streets. Its versatility is shown in its wide range of chassis and axle configurations that make it suitable for various applications both in the city and out on the country roads. The CF 85 is suitable for hauling tankers, concrete pumpers as well as simple city delivery payloads. Moreover, the CF series truck is available with three Cab variants namely, a Day Cab, a Sleeper Cab and the huge Space Cab variant designed around the driver for a more ergonomic spacious working environment.
Paccar made a testament to customer loyalty by awarding the new CF 85 truck t its oldest most loyal customer in Australia, Cahill Transport. The Managing Director of Paccar Australia, Mr Andrew Hadjikakou, officially handed the keys of the CF 85 510hp prime mover to Michael and Daniel Cahill, the directors of Cahill Transport to honour their loyalty to DAF.
Following the successful assembly of the DAF truck as the Bayswater facility, Paccar corporate in Seattle signed off on a move that would double the size of the facility by 2021 effectively increasing the output of both Kentworth and DAF trucks as well as increasing jobs in the region.
This CF truck was built using a Complete Knocked Down (CKD) method where all the parts are shipped in from the mother factory and only put together on site. The only locally sourced parts were the wheels and tyres. With the expansion of the facility, more state-of-the-art equipment could be brought in to facilitate more complex operations to be performed locally.
In order to pull off this assembly in Victoria, a team of ten factory engineers and technicians travelled to DAF’s production centres in Europe to work closely with their European counterparts getting acquainted with the truck building process and working directly on the production of several CF series trucks until they were comfortable to do it on their own.
Aussie truckers have had to brave long waiting periods for trucks they need to be delivered into the country in the past. The establishment of this production centre will increase the options available, affording the buyers some freedom to select the truck of their choice.
By building modern world-class trucks in the country, Paccar has opened up a new avenue of industrial development in Australia. There are numerous support technologies that will begin to come up as a result of the growing trucking industry including software and entertainment technologies, truck body building, maintenance and repair centres as well as truck parts dealers.