THREE DECADES OF SUCCESS
Celebrating 30 years of operation in 2019, Australian Clutch Services has grown from a local clutch rebuilder to one of the largest clutch suppliers and manufacturers in the Southern Hemisphere
With more than 50 employees and seven major brands, Australian Clutch Services says it is a market leader in clutch development and innovation and has also become a major exporter to New Zealand, Europe and America.
ACS was founded in 1989 as Adelaide Clutch Services by Managing Director, Brenton Jordan. Originally the business was focused around remanufacturing and servicing clutch components.
“When we first started out, clutch manufacturing procedures were nothing like they are today,” Brenton explains.
“Back then, when you needed a clutch, you purchased a rebuilt unit rather than buying brand new components.
“At the time this was viable in Australia and I sometimes look back on the days of driving around picking up old worn out clutch kits from our customers around the state, ready to go through the rebuild process.”
Brenton was, and still is, an avid car enthusiast and enjoyed working on restoration projects and competing in motorsport.
“I had a number of restoration and racing projects. It was a massive help to have those projects when I was younger as it really helps you to understand the importance of quality components and puts you in the customer’s shoes,” Brenton said.
After the introduction of the GST and with significant changes to the production procedures for clutch components, remanufacturing was no longer a viable option and ACS completely changed its core business to the supply and manufacture of new clutch kits and components.
“The days of rebuilding old components are long gone and now we only rebuild kits for very specific classic car applications or vintage agricultural applications where the components simply cannot be sourced,” explains Brenton.
“The business now is almost unrecognisable from its days in the 1990s in terms of the range of products, the number of employees and the facilities.”
The company originally started out in a relatively small facility before expanding into their current head office.
“We started off in a small facility in Torrensville which quickly became overcrowded with both stock and employees.
“After the introduction of the GST and changes to our core business, we determined that this facility would not effectively support the research and development that was required for manufacturing and testing, so started scouting areas to build a purpose-built facility.”
ACS opened its new headquarters in the industrial hub of Wingfield in 2005. The development of this new facility allowed for greater stock holding and research and development resulting in a major growth period in the Australian market.
“We pride ourselves on offering our customers the highest levels of service and quality. Our technical support staff and state of the art research and development facility help us to keep the highest standards possible,” Brenton said.
“Each of our kits are put through a strict process for development and we don’t just look at getting the highest clamping force possible, but also elements like driveability and clamping force over the lifecycle of the product.”
In 2006, ACS took on a new challenge with a shift into the export market.
“Moving into the export market was a major change for us as a business,” Brenton said.
“There were many challenges and obstacles we had to overcome, but it has become a major part of our business and we are proud to see how highly renowned our brands are all over the world.”
ACS’ first export market was New Zealand before expanding into Europe. These markets quickly grew and in 2018, ACS expanded even further to include a warehouse in the US holding their American performance brand, XClutch.
“We are very excited to be expanding into the US market. After the success we have seen in New Zealand and Europe, it was an obvious next step for us and is already proving to be very successful,” Brenton said.
Brenton credits the success of ACS to its ability to quickly adjust to changing market trends whilst retaining the highest quality, innovation and service.
“The business has been built around adapting to market change. Our first major change was to adjust to the introduction of the GST by becoming a manufacturer and supplier rather then focusing on the remanufacturing services we were offering previously,” he explained.
“We have worked hard to ensure that we can quickly adjust our business to changes in clutch technology and car manufacturing trends which is how we have been able to develop such a diverse range of standard replacement and performance clutch kits and accessories.”
This ability to adjust quickly has been critical to the expansion of the export program.
“One of the biggest factors to our success in Europe and America, has been our ability to supply products that no one else can,” Brenton said.
“Being more flexible in our development has allowed us to produce many world first performance upgrades for our Xtreme Clutch and Xtreme Outback brands.
“This allowed us to break into niche markets and because of the quality and performance of these kits, the brand name quickly grew throughout the entire performance and 4×4 industries.”
Stock holding is also one of the factors that Brenton emphasises throughout the organisation and ACS has continued to expand their distribution facilities around Australia.
“Having the kit close to our customers and ready to go is one of the most important factors in today’s market,” he said.
“With current market trends and the number of vehicles on the road, our customers need the products as quickly as possible to ensure they can support their own customer networks.”
ACS now has nine warehouses around Australia with extensive stock holdings of complete clutch kits and hydraulics.
Looking at future challenges, Brenton believes ACS is well placed to face the rapidly evolving automotive aftermarket and Australian car parc.
“We are seeing lots of new technology in clutch, despite what people may think about the decrease of manual vehicle sales. Dual Clutch Transmission technology is a perfect example of this change and we have already focused on expanding our range of DCT clutch kits as well as the specialised tools required for installation to ensure that our distribution network has access to the products they need to support their own local markets,” Brenton said.
As for the future of ACS as a company, Brenton is excited by the position ACS has achieved and is keen to continue the growth seen over the past 30 years.
“We will continue to evolve and strive to offer the best for our customers around the world. That is now ingrained in the culture of the business,” he said.
“As we continue to grow, we will not lose focus on our core values or the relationships we have built with our customers around Australia and the world.”
For more on Australian Clutch Services, visit www.australianclutch.com.au