AN EXPANSIVE SUCCESS
The Don Kyatt Group is continuing to grow and expand globally, with an exciting new facility to open soon
The popular 4WD parts brand is set to open a new facility in Chile at the end of this year, marking Don Kyatt Spare Parts’ eighth international location and its 18th branch overall in a continuation of its global expansion.
The new facility is a far cry from the modest premises in Moorabbin in Melbourne’s South East that acted as the company’s home when it first started trading with little more than $600 back in November of 1969.
But the Don Kyatt Group has only gone from strength to strength since then, opening branches Australia-wide to service every corner of the country, and expanding internationally to take its Terrain Tamer and Flashlube brands into key markets such as Europe, New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and most recently, Africa.
Still owned and operated by Frank Hutchinson, who started the business over 50 years ago, Don Kyatt Spare Parts boasts a product range of over 60,000 unique part numbers.
The range is made up of all of the parts that will strengthen a 4WD – right through the gearbox, transfer case, filters, suspension, bearing kits, brake, clutch and thousands of other parts.
This expansive range is put to use by not only recreational 4WDers in more than 80 countries around the world, but also in in mining, military, farming and emergency service applications.
In early 2020, the company had just completed the setup and started trading from Lae, its second branch in Papua New Guinea, and had moved on to the beginning stages of setting up its South African warehouse in Cape Town.
Soon after COVID-19 and its subsequent lockdown periods began, creating obvious difficulties in getting the new location set up.
Don Kyatt’s perseverance paid off though, and, after having to adapt to meet the numerous challenges faced, the branch was ready on schedule in May of 2020, opening up a range of new opportunities for the brand in the region which boasts a rich 4WD industry and also many different mines.
Since then, the Don Kyatt Group has only seen more progress, navigating the many unknowns of the post pandemic business landscape to open its second Queensland branch in Townsville, move its New Zealand branch into a larger facility and also a new state of the art facility in Marsden Park, in Sydney’s North West in early 2022.
Built on a large 4500m2 site, the Marsden Park building itself covers an area of a little over 1900m2 and features two adjoining warehouses, as well as a new showroom and office area, and landscaping that features bottle trees and timber totems of varying heights, a nod to the Australian outback, that is rooted in so much of the company’s core Terrain Tamer brand, products and values.
The Don Kyatt head office in Tottenham, in Melbourne’s inner west, has also undergone an expansion, with the building of a large 15-metre-high warehouse facility, effectively doubling the pallet capacity at the site, which was purchased from GUD Holdings in 2012.
“Such extensive expansion right across the group, both here and abroad, comes with a significant increase in traffic through the Melbourne Head Office,” Don Kyatt Spare Parts General Manager, Brent Hutchinson, said.
“We needed a facility that was going to meet that need and we had simply outgrown the warehouse space we already had.
“We are very fortunate to have a 32,000m2 site to build on at Head Office, so significant expansion of our warehouse and buildings has been possible without encroaching on our test track or having to slow down any part of our existing operations.”
The expansion has also allowed the Don Kyatt Group to significantly increase stock holdings at its Head Office, addressing one of the main issues faced during the pandemic and since.
With ongoing delays in international shipping and freight from overseas manufacturers, this has allowed the company to continue providing parts to both its customers and branches without too much interruption.
Further to this, a full-size duplication of Craigs Hut, a well-known landmark to 4WDrivers built on Mount Stirling in the Victorian High Country in the 1980s for the filming of The Man from Snowy River, has been replicated at the front of the site. It complements the ‘Terrain Tamer Test Track’ which is located at the rear and is used primarily for Research and Development.
“The Craig’s Hut replica is certainly a unique fit to us as a company, our High Country roots and customer base,” Brent said.
“This character within the company is a large part of what makes us a uniquely Australian brand, and ultimately a successful one.
“We’ve already had some comments that the building is definitely a head turning sight as you drive down Sunshine Road, but the original ‘Craig’s Hut’ is such an iconic landmark in our industry, and we believe that our ‘Terrain Tamer Hut’ will serve us well as a really distinctive function centre for staff and customers.”
The next step for the expansion of the company is the new Chilean branch, currently being set up in metropolitan Santiago, the country’s capital city.
With stock already on the water and on its way to the new warehouse, the branch is due to open in the coming months and will be managed by Nicolas Bonilla, a former assistant manager of the company’s European warehouse in France, and perhaps most helpfully, a native Spanish speaker, who has migrated specifically to take on the task of finding, setting up and running the new location.
The new branch will act as a launching pad for the South American and Central American areas, which have previously proven to be strong markets for the export of the Terrain Tamer brand for many reasons, but in particular the extensive mining sector, including many large Australian companies such as BHP.
“We’re very particular about where we choose to open our branches, and we have worked with Austrade for just over two years before taking this step,” Brent said.
“Chile is strategically a great opportunity for our unique range, and not only an already sound trading partner with Australia but a great launch pad into other parts of South America.
“Interestingly, we’ve come to learn that our countries share a lot of similarities in the 4WD sense and the demands that we put our vehicles under, so we’re going into this with a real advantage.”
Additionally, South American consumption of LPG is among the highest in the world, lending itself as a key market for the export of the Don Kyatt Group’s additives and lubricants brand, Flashlube, and in particular, its original Valve Saver Fluid and kit products, which are also popular throughout many European and Asian countries.
What comes next for Don Kyatt Spare Parts is anyone’s guess, but what is almost certain is that the company has no intention of slowing down.
Having seen growth almost every year since opening in Melbourne all those years ago in 1969, the company and its branches have collectively navigated and survived recessions, natural disasters, political unrest and now a pandemic to evolve into the successful international business that it is today, and export its parts into almost every corner of the globe.
For more information, visit www.donkyatt.com.au