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Volvo Group back on deck for Brisbane

After missing the 2021 Brisbane Truck Show, Volvo Group Australia is set to make up for lost time in 2023 at Australia’s big road transport event


The 2021 Brisbane Truck Show was an undoubted success despite COVID playing havoc within the general population, not to mention the threat of state border restrictions. But in what was a timely window of opportunity in May last year, show organisers Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA) maintained their focus, determined that the show must go on.

Looking ahead, a number of truck manufacturers who opted out for various reasons last year are now back on board for 2023, with Volvo Group Australia (VGA) leading the way.

VGA had missed the opportunity to showcase its new models at Brisbane in 2021, but in response to questions from OwnerDriver, VGA president and chief executive Martin Merrick says he is looking ahead to May 2023.

“Hindsight is always 20/20. We had a whole new Volvo Trucks range and well as an updated Mack range to launch. However, given the tumultuous events of last year I stand by our decision not to participate in 2021,” Merrick says.

“Depending on the uncertainty of borders during a pandemic was too great a risk in terms of launching and promoting these models. Instead, we sent our new range of trucks on a roadshow which allowed customers to see them up close, learn about their new features and drive them.

“Some commentators mentioned cost cutting as a motive at the time, however I’d point out that it’s actually more expensive to send 14 trucks with multiple staff on a four month roadshow to every region of the country than to attend the Brisbane Truck Show.”

Volvo Group Australia president Martin Merrick

Despite its absence in 2021, Merrick says VGA has always been a supporter of the Brisbane Truck Show. In 2019, as well as inside the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, it paraded trucks on the opposite side of the Brisbane River and into the CBD.

“We do think it’s an important industry event and a great opportunity for people to reconnect in the wake of the COVID pandemic,” Merrick continues.

“We’ve been instrumental in the past in taking the show outside its traditional boundaries and into the city for the general public to see.

“Connecting with industry and connecting with customers is important to us. And given recent events many of us across the industry are also reconnecting.

“While technology allowed us to keep our people connected and our businesses running, we’ve also seen that the human element, the relational aspect of our industry works much better face to face.”

Part of the VGA stand at the 2019 Brisbane Truck Show

While VGA missed out on displaying the new Mack Anthem in 2021, Merrick points out that it has previously been on display at the Brisbane Truck Show, albeit in cutaway format.

“Last year we were able to drive the new Anthem into dealerships and customer yards around the country. In fact we were also able to connect with customers that don’t have the time to attend shows,” Merrick says.

“Customer feedback on the Anthem, especially in regard to fuel efficiency has been excellent so we are looking forward to seeing the Anthem on the stand in 2023 with some great stories to tell.

“We’ve got some great things happening before then,” he adds.

Show attendees can also expect to see UD Trucks on the VGA stand, despite the Japanese trucks now officially part of Isuzu. However, Merrick says, as VGA is the sole importer of UD Trucks in Australia, it will definitely be showcasing the best that UD has to offer to the Australian market.

“We’re very proud to have UD as a part of the VGA stable,” he says.

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