By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: courtesy Volgren Perth

LOCAL MANUFACTURING is alive and well in Western Australia’s capital city with Volgren’s 2000th vehicle constructed at the company’s purpose-built manufacturing and service facility in Malaga delivered to Transperth, it reports recently.

“Volgren buses are now completing 18 to 20 years of service and are being sold at auction to continue their life with other companies and operators," said regional sales and contract manager for Volgren Perth, Peter McCrory.

Volgren, Australia’s largest bus body builder, supplied the low-floor Optimus city bus, which typifies close to 1800 of those buses delivered to the Public Transport Authority of Western Australia (PTA) over two decades, it says.

Regional sales and contract manager for Volgren Perth, Peter McCrory, says they have become an important cog in the local economy.

"More than 60 people are currently employed at Malaga, of which nine employees worked on the very first bus delivered to PTA in 1999.

"Our association with PTA is the longest bus supply agreements in the country and one that we’re incredibly proud of. It’s a partnership that’s seen roughly two vehicles built per week for 21 years," he explained.

McCrory says Volgren is committed to investing in the state’s skilled workforce - and since their last contract was awarded in 2018 it has increased local fabrications.



"The Covid-19 pandemic has reminded Australians of the importance of being able to manufacture a full range of essential equipment and supplies in our own backyard - and the value of geographically close supply chains," McCrory stated.

"Our buses for PTA are built with 85 per cent local (Australian) content, of which over half of materials and services comes from WA suppliers and we’re strengthening our local supply chain all the time.  

"We recently completed a project to bring a large amount of aluminium and steel fabrication from a supplier close to our head office in Victoria to Perth.

"In time we hope to create a strong and sustainable local supply chain around the Malaga precinct," he added.

"Volgren Perth directly supports over 100 local businesses and indirectly supports another 29. We are currently spending approximately $7m a year with these suppliers and helping to support 150 jobs in the WA economy outside of Volgren."

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McCrory says local production and products aren’t just good for jobs – they also lead to demonstrably better buses.  

"Volgren buses are now completing 18 to 20 years of service and are being sold at auction to continue their life with other companies, operators and private citizens."

"The fact that some of the first vehicles supplied to the PTA are still in operation – or are only now being retired – spoke volumes about the quality of his company’s engineering and overall product."

McCrory says quality means Western Australian taxpayers save in the long run.

"The value we provide to the PTA comes from an unrivalled whole-of-life bus cost. We are proud to offer a bus that, with its advanced engineering and unique Co-bolt design, ultimately delivers savings to the people of Western Australia."



That longstanding reputation for quality hasn’t stopped Volgren from looking to the future – and to major changes to the way buses are built, the company says.

In July, 2020, the Western Australian government announced it would trial Transperth's first all-electric buses. Volgren will build the bodies on Volvo chassis.

"Zero-emission buses are the future and we have to be involved now to assure our competitiveness and meet our customer demands going forward," he said.

The first trial buses will start travelling on the Joondalup CAT service in 2022, Volgren explains.

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