CONSUMERS LOOK TO LOCALLY MADE BULLBARS
TUFF Australia has introduced new bullbars with the help of the Auto Innovation Centre
Increasing demand for locally manufactured 4WD accessories has opened-up opportunities for TUFF Australia according to the company’s General Manager, Mark Casey.
“The demand for bullbars, side rails and trays has been very strong in the past 12 months and we have bought adjoining properties in order to expand our factory footprint in Toowoomba, Queensland,” Mark said.
Research and development has been a major focus for the company that is approaching its twentieth anniversary and new models continue to be launched. The company recently introduced a range of bullbars for the new Nissan D23 MY21 Navara model which was developed with the assistance of the AAAA Auto Innovation Centre (AIC) in Adelaide.
“We approached the Nissan product line development a bit differently and relied on scans from the AIC – this was great asset for our engineering team and saved time and money,” Mark said. “TUFF was one of the original backers of the AIC concept and it is marvellous to see the results of this ambitious project and the practical benefits for the whole industry.
“There is a significant amount of technology on the front of current vehicles and this presents challenges for Australian manufacturers as they design products to withstand the rigours of our unique conditions while maintaining the technical functions of vehicles such as adaptive cruise control.
“The AAAA will no doubt continue to make sure independent manufacturers are not closed-out from making quality accessories for all makes and models. This is critical as OEMs will continue to make closed loop systems so they can only be accessed by their technicians. We can now see the state and federal governments have woken up to the advantages of a local manufacturing base and have provided useful incentives to modernise our factories.
“Aside from the advocacy of the AAAA and the encouragement of government, manufacturers will need to take advantage of the opportunities and invest in the future – we see talented people and their development as the best way to secure our path forward and we now have 14 apprentices in our factory. With the shortage of skilled boilermakers and sheet metal workers we have to grow our own.
“We have also ordered a state-of-the-art folding press from Japan to process our parts – this will give TUFF added productivity and allow us to do more elements in-house. Everything has to be done as efficiently as possible – there are great opportunities but material and labour increases mean we have to reduce our waste and increase overall productivity at TUFF.”
For more information, visit www.tuffaustralia.com.au