In a rare departure from its self-imposed ‘quiet achiever’ status within the Australian automotive industry, ZF Services Australia has held a media event to celebrate its 25th anniversary in Australia.
Ironically, 2012 also marks 10 years since Iveco Australia started using locally supplied ZF AS-Tronic automated transmissions.
ZF’s product range, however, goes way beyond automated transmissions and the Australian operation now supplies a diverse range of advanced components to the local passenger car, truck, bus, marine and construction segments.
Through its Sachs branded range of shock absorbers and clutches, ZF also supplies components to around 70 percent of the V8 Supercar field.
As well as the Sachs range, components distributed directly by ZF Services Australia these days include Boge shock absorbers, Lemforder steering and suspension components, the ZF Parts range of steering racks and pumps, as well as the Stabilus gas lift range.
ZF claims it is also supplies 70 percent of Australian city buses with transmissions.
In the truck market, Iveco, DAF, MAN, Hino and Isuzu offer ZF transmissions in various models.
First established in 1987 at Seven Hills in Sydney’s west, ZF Services started with 20 employees. Today the company is headquartered at Arndell Park with 69 employees and has forecast revenue of $40 million for 2012.
In the bigger picture, ZF is a German company recognised as a leading global supplier of driveline and chassis technology with 121 production companies in 27 countries and 72,000 employees. In 2011 the company achieved approximately $20 billion (15.5 billion Euro) in sales.
The numbers certainly aren’t as great on the local scene but according to ZF Services Australia managing director Chris Adcock, the Australian operation “… has experienced significant growth over the past few years.
“Year to date we are exceeding our 2011 sales by 21 percent and the forecasted annual growth will continue double digit for the next five years,” he asserted.
“Throughout the past 25 years of business in Australia the company has established a broad customer base across the automotive, bus, truck and marine markets.”
Asked why it has taken 25 years for the company to decide to raise its profile, Chris Adcock said it has until now preferred to let its customers do the talking. From here on, however, the company will be doing far more to spread its own message, he said.
On the product front, it could be some years yet before ZF’s highly advanced Traxon automated transmission is available on the Australian market. Released in Germany recently, Traxon will ultimately replace the long-serving yet highly successful AS-Tronic automated shifter.