THE POWER TO PUSH THE ENVELOPE
Century Yuasa‘s Automotive division is Australia’s oldest and most recognised battery manufacturer and supplier
The company has a proud history of producing batteries in Australia since 1928 and its portfolio includes some of the most recognised battery brands and technically advanced products available in the marketplace.
“We are committed to continuous new product development and invest significantly in local manufacturing to ensure we set new standards in product performance,” Century Yuasa General Manager Automotive Sales (Australia and New Zealand), Stu Stanners, said.
“Our core strength and competitive advantage lie in delivering exceptional products supported with an industry-leading service network.”
That network includes regional agents and metropolitan distribution centres enabling Century Yuasa to offer a nationwide service model consistent in both regional and metropolitan Australia.
“Businesses partner with Century Yuasa as they have access to locally held stock and technical experts dedicated to providing services that add value to their customers,” Stu explained.
“We have been at the forefront of battery manufacturing and design for over 90 years. Our reputation for quality and innovation has been refined and demonstrated over many decades.”
In the early days, Century Batteries were primarily sold to New South Wales only. In the 1960s they expanded into Victoria, and from there moved into Western Australia, before offering nationwide coverage.
“Today, we are not only the market leaders in Australia and New Zealand, but we also export to international markets where the weather conditions are similar to the extreme heat we experience here in Australia,” Stu said.
“Our latest product has pushed battery technology to a new level allowing us to reduce water loss in a battery by up to 40 percent, which is huge, so it is perfectly suited and designed for the Australian market.”
Century Yuasa now has a world-leading battery manufacturing plant in Queensland and employs more than 600 staff and reinvests in excess of $100 million each year into local businesses and the Australian economy.
“Late last year we invested many millions in factory upgrades making our facility the equal of any manufacturing plant in the world. The factory allows us to make a battery suited to the harsh Australian climate,” Stu explained.
Century says it has a strong focus on innovation and technical excellence, and states they were the first battery company in Australia to introduce polypropylene cases and lids.
Still, the real watershed moment in Century’s success story occurred in the 1980s when they formed an international partnership and signed a technical agreement with Japan Storage Company and Yuasa.
“It was at this point we became Century Yuasa Batteries,” Stu said.
“From there we started supplying to original equipment manufacturers such as Ford, General Motors, Nissan and Toyota. In the late 1980s we entered New Zealand and then in the mid-1990s we secured our position as the leading battery distributor in that market as well.”
While a small percentage of products in the Century range are imported from Century Yuasa affiliated and approved suppliers, the majority of the more than two million units Century Yuasa sells every year are manufactured in the Queensland plant.
“We have more than 8,000 customers in Australia and 3,000 in New Zealand,” Stu explained.
“Australia pretty much sticks to the domestic market, however our New Zealand operation exports throughout the Cook Islands, including Rarotonga and also Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and New Caledonia.
“70 percent of our business is what is described as national major accounts, including Supercheap Auto, Repco, Battery World and Autobarn in both Australia and New Zealand. In addition, we also supply directly to car franchises, including Toyota, Mitsubishi, Ford, Mazda and many more.”
Century Yuasa also supplies product to specialist Auto Electrical independent customers in both countries under the AEC The Battery Specialists (Australia) banner in Australia and Battery Zone in New Zealand. In addition, Century Yuasa also owns the Battery World franchise in Australia, but its expertise extends far beyond the automotive market.
“We have three divisions: Automotive, which is the largest; Motive Power that manufactures and supplies forklift electric batteries; and Power Systems, which builds and designs battery systems to support power stations and telecommunications providers,” Stu explained.
“The Power Systems division is exciting – almost every business has a back-up power system so they can keep working during a power interruption, and many of the systems Century are designing are incredibly sophisticated.
“We’re selling a lot of lithium-ion within that sphere. In fact, lithium technology is quickly moving into Motive Power and Automotive products as well, and the future potential is going to be enormous.
“As a part of GS Yuasa, we have access to the latest lithium technology. We have lithium batteries for drive, as well as a lithium plant that is manufacturing batteries for autonomous vehicles’ automotive back-up systems.
“For example, the Ford Everest that has an automatic braking system, well that’s got to have a back-up battery should something fail,” he added.
GS Yuasa is also making batteries for autonomous vehicles in addition to its extensive range of more traditional automotive batteries that also include deep cycle, marine and commercial automotive.
“There is a lot of discussion around the topic of automated vehicles,” Stu said.
“While we wait for the legislators to catch-up so we can all enjoy the benefits of automated transport on our road system, in the commercial space we supply storage systems to the biggest autonomous wharf in China.
“The port is fully autonomous, and they exclusively use our battery technology.”
As battery and automotive technology continues to advance at an ever-increasing rate, Century has invested heavily in training to ensure its product is fitted correctly during every installation.
“We invest a lot of money in determining what is required to fit our batteries to specific vehicles, as battery replacement is becoming more and more complex,” Stu commented.
“Take some of the new BMWs, for example. Replacing a battery in these vehicles is a time consuming and complex task.
“You’ve got to take the stretch bolts out of the seat and take the seat out before installing the new battery. This process can take up to two and a half hours, and to complete, you’ve got to buy 150 dollars’ worth of new stretch bolts.
“These days, there’s much more to replacing a battery than just popping the hood and dropping in a new one.”
This is why we invest heavily to support our partners and ensure they have all of the information, knowledge and tools to meet the changing market place and car parc.
We have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in a new battery look up system which not only enables businesses to search for a vehicles’ battery via the registration, but also provides the detailed instructions on how to replace the battery in modern vehicles, such as is the case with the BMW.
Century Yuasa says there is little doubt that with its continued investment in technology, training and its people, it will lead the industry in the development, manufacture and supply of stored energy solutions across Australia and New Zealand for decades to come.
For more information visit www.cyb.com.au