By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: Courtesy VBA + ZF

INNOVATION, safety and reliability underwrite Volvo Bus and ZF's decades-long partnership in producing a gamut of quality buses together for the Australian market, the companies retrospectively concur.

ZF and Volvo Bus Australia have been working together for many years

With 2021 marking the 50th anniversary of Volvo Bus Australia (VBA), the company has reflected on its long-standing partnership with industry leading global parts supplier, ZF.

Not long after Volvo Bus reached Australian shores in 1971, the company established itself as an automotive pioneer of quality, safety and environmental care, and became a well-connected industry OEM, it explains.

Volvo Bus prioritised finding trusted and reliable industry partners to support its operations and customer success – with ZF being one of its earliest partners, it confirms.

Established in Friedrichshafen, Germany - 12 years prior to Volvo’s conception in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 1927 - ZF and Volvo both share European heritages and have, "...maintained similar visions since the beginning, in creating innovative, safe and reliable transport solutions," they state.

ZF was one of Volvo Bus Australia's earliest partners


Originally established to provide gears for Zeppelins and other airships, ZF became an agile manufacturer throughout the years in expanding its production across parts for a range of automotive vehicles and for industrial, marine and aviation applications, it says.

While ZF officially opened its first office in Australia in 1987, VBA and ZF’s partnership dates to the beginning of Volvo’s history in Australia in the early '70s.

Throughout these early years, Volvo’s beloved B58 chassis was primarily fitted with ZF’s two-speed automatic transmission (2HP45) – providing comfort and safety in a city driveline, it explains.

Throughout the '70s and '80s, ZF gearboxes evolved from four -speed to five-speed automatic transmissions and were worked into various other Volvo vehicles, including the B6 and legendary B10M.

ZF later introduced its impressive six-speed transmission in the early 2000s, which Volvo quickly adopted into their proceeding models, including the B7R and B12.

In 2010, ZF made yet another innovative step forward with the release of the ZF Ecolife transmission, with VBA delivering the very first bus into the Australian market with this special transmission in its DNA, the companies proudly explain.

Today, VBA and ZF remain close business partners, and ZF’s EcoLife transmission continues to be integrated into VBA chassis across the city, school and coach range in the B11R and highly popular B8R – with thousands operating successfully in bus fleets across the country, says Volvo.

ZF's six-speed transmission was quickly adopted by Volvo after it was developed in the early 2000s


Volvo’s reliable and efficient chassis features, paired with the ZF EcoLife transmission, has provided customers with the benefit of enhanced fuel economy, increased vehicle uptime and productivity, optimised driving experience and reduced environmental impacts through fewer C02 emissions, they state.

"Volvo is one of our most valued partners in the Australian bus industry," said Gary Bain, head of OE/OES Sales – Oceania at ZF.

"We have worked closely together for decades, combining the best of our businesses to develop and deliver innovative, safe and reliable transport solutions.

"Throughout Volvo’s 50 years in Australia, they have helped shape the industry and we congratulate them on achieving this fantastic milestone," continued Bain.

The ZF EcoLife transmission 


In addition to the benefits of Volvo and ZF’s proven European technology, both companies have remained committed to servicing Australian customers with dedicated teams and facilities, offering specialised services and support, they confirm.

"Since the beginning of Volvo Bus in Australia, ZF have remained our trusted business partner and together we have delivered unparalleled solutions to our customers across the country," said Mitch Peden, general manager Volvo Bus Australia.

"While together our products have been able to speak for themselves, our specialised teams and support networks have allowed us to go above and beyond," he added.

"VBA and ZF’s dedicated people, networks and specialised parts and service facilities have allowed us to remain agile and keep up with industry demands.

"The team at VBA are grateful for the wonderful partnership we’ve had with ZF throughout the decades and we look forward to continuing our partnership into the future," concluded Peden.

Both companies are committed to providing quality service to customers

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