SPONSORED CONTENT: Meritor is celebrating 50 years of service in the Australia trucking industry. Following the tides of change in the local truck market in the past five decades, Meritor has made significant efforts to remain a trusted brand producing quality products made in Australia for tough local conditions

Meritor celebrates a half century!


This year marks the 50th year of Meritor’s operations in Australia. In 1969, Rockwell and Industrial Engineering established a purpose-built drive axle manufacturing plant in Melbourne. Over the years, the facility supplied drive and steer axles to brands like Ford, Chrysler, Atkinson, International, White Motors, Leader, Volvo, Mack, Kenworth and Iveco.

Despite significant changes in the global truck market Meritor has continued to supply parts to some of the world’s biggest truck names – including Kenworth, Volvo, Mack, Isuzu, Iveco, Western Star and Freightliner – first as part of Rockwell International, then as Arvin Meritor, and eventually under the Meritor banner.

"Off the back of Meritor’s 110 year legacy, we are delighted to be celebrating 50 years in Australia reflecting the brands heritage and our dedication to the commercial vehicle transportation industry in this country, which has some of the most demanding on and off-highway applications globally," Meritor Australia managing director David Cole says.

Australian line-up

Meritor Australia’s operations have continued to adapt to changing global dynamics and advancements in technology. Today the company is well-known for its extensive range of heavy duty truck axles and remains a trusted supplier of tandem and tri-drive axles, steer axles, drivelines, S-cam brakes, brake drums and air disc brakes. Meritor uses its global reach to both manufacture and source a range of quality products that are then tailored to suit the specific conditions of the Australian truck market, including tough road conditions, and high load and weight capacity.

"While Meritor Australia has traditionally focused on the truck and aftermarket sectors, Meritor has a diverse product portfolio that also includes military-grade drivetrain solutions for the defence market. Meritor’s military applications date back to World War I and continue strongly today," Meritor sales and marketing manager Michael Snell says.

"Meanwhile, Meritor Australia has experience in the local defence sector through our involvement with Thales Australia and its Bushmaster infantry mobility vehicle program."

Recent advancements

Over the past few years Meritor has made a number of acquisitions to enhance its technological capabilities and also to enhance growth in off-highway, defence and aftermarket segments. 

In 2017, Meritor acquired gearbox and transfer case manufacturer Fabco, and a year later it launched a new brand, Blue Horizon, to market its suite of electric drivetrain solutions whereby the main drive motor is integrated into the axle housing.

Last year, Meritor took industrial and off-highway axle manufacturer Axletech under its wing. This acquisition is expected to bring a full and complimentary product line of independent suspensions, axles, braking solutions and drivetrain components for off-highway applications.

"These acquisitions enhance Meritor’s technological capabilities for growth in off-highway, defence and aftermarket segments," Cole says. 

"Earlier this year, Meritor acquired remaining shares in California-based Transpower, which supplies integrated drive systems, full electric truck solutions and energy storage subsystems to major manufacturers of trucks, buses, refuse vehicles and terminal tractors. By combining Transpower products with Meritor BlueHorizon eAxle product line-up, Meritor will accelerate the development and sale of this entire family of electric drive product. It enables Meritor to further position the company as a premier supplier of electrification technologies for commercial vehicles."

Australian sites

Meritor has two sites in Australia – an assembly facility in Sunshine, and an aftermarket parts distribution warehouse and brake shoe kit riveting facility based in Derrimut, Victoria. Established in 2010, the Derrimut facility specialises in aftermarket (Euclid, Meritor) and genuine (Meritor Genuine) brand offering, with over 1,500 stocked items and 10,000 active parts on site at any time. 

Meanwhile, the 10,000 square metre manufacturinig facility in Sunshine specialises in assembly of brakes, and drive and steer axles for local original equipment manufacturers, including Kenworth, Iveco and Mack.

During the ‘golden era’ of Australian manufacturing in the ’70s and ’80s, Meritor’s Sunshine facility used to be a full production site with much of the manufacturing taking place in-house. However, with changing times, the company gradually transitioned from full-scale local manufacturing to a more globally-sourced product approach.

These days, the Sunshine site serves as semi-finishing and assembly plant which dispatches steer axles, differentials, axle assemblies, drive axles and brake components using a just-in-time lean process. Meritor Australia continues to make significant investments in local manufacturing expertise, recently adding the capability to build and balance drivelines in-house at the Sunshine facility as it looks to gain better in-house quality control and improve capabilities to support local customer demand and diversification in off-highway segments. 

Customer focus

Many of Meritor Australia’s employees have been working with the company for more than a decade. Territory truck manager Ivan Cassar is one of them. Cassar, who has been working with the business for over 23 years, attributes the success of the Australian business to its unparalleled dedication to customer service and its ability to adapt to the market by offering reliable products to customers.

Meritor offers excellent customer support through its dedicated customer service and technical support representatives in Melbourne, and national sales coverage with its experienced  
team of field sales representatives servicing both OE truck sales and aftermarket.

In the last five decades there have been many changes in the road transport industry including, changes in regulations, huge advancements in technology and most significantly, greater presence of imported vehicles. However, there are still three manufacturing powerhouses based in Australia – Kenworth, Iveco and Volvo Mack. Meritor has a long and proud history of supplying axles to these three brands and servicing their OEM replacement and aftermarket parts needs through its extensive dealer networks. 

Future outlook

Meritor Australia plans to further boost its longstanding presence in the on-highway and aftermarket segments through leading technology, innovation, reliability, and customer service  
and support. 

"As we look to the future we will be offering a wider array of differentiated products and solutions to customers. It will strengthen our capability to continue to invest and produce locally and will see expansion of our aftermarket distribution centre and capability, with a more comprehensive range of products to meet customer needs for every stage of vehicle ownership through our ‘Good, Better, Best’ tiered offering," Cole says.

"We have and will continue with a number of new product developments tailored for unique Australian applications. We will continue to invest in our people to ensure we can exceed our customer expectations and help them stay a step ahead in their businesses for the next 50 years. It remains our commitment to be the recognised leader in providing advanced drivetrain, mobility, braking and aftermarket solutions for the local industry."

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