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Irizar continues building Australian presence

Whether it be new premises, updated models or exciting releases, 2024 is set to see Irizar grow even more in the local market

Following a successful 2023, Irizar is continuing to expand its capabilities and product range in Australia as a popular bodybuilder.

Despite continual supply chain challenges, Irizar’s order book remains full and it heads into 2024 with plenty in the works.

“2023 was our largest volume delivery year since we’ve been in the country – it was a very good year for us,” Irizar Asia Pacific managing director Steve Heanes told ABC.

“The market hasn’t grown – we’ve grown by taking market share, which is a really good testament to the brand.”

In 2024, Irizar has a “very strong” order bank to fulfil. One product that will feature prominently throughout the year is an i6S efficient coach body that will transition towards a new version with some innovative changes included.

This updated model will come with electric mirrors and other slight changes that will optimise the vehicle’s weight. Heanes says Irizar will be conducting weight trials to produce the most efficient coach body possible for low or zero-emissions operations.

“As batteries can be heavy, our ultimate goal is to have a lighter electric vehicle than what we have previously produced on the diesel side,” Heanes says.

In Europe, the new i6S efficient bodies have recorded up to 13 per cent fuel savings. Now, Heanes will work to make the body ideal and acceptable for Australian conditions.

In the early months of 2024, Irizar will also move into its new larger facility in Melbourne to capitalise on its recent growth. Heanes says the past couple of years of increased production and good business means it’s now time to stabilise the Irizar business model.

“The business needs to be sustainable moving forward, so we’ll focus on that to make our growth stable,” he says.

“We’ll also use the facility to focus on the customer service and aftersales part of the business by building in flexibility for repairs.”

This focus includes completing glass replacement in-house, increasing Irizar’s service offering across the board. When Irizar does make the move, it’ll establish a community with sub-suppliers in the same area to facilitate new efficiencies and opportunities for all involved.

A major part of 2023 for Irizar was the establishment of Hispacold’s business unit in Australia. After stabilising this support and structure in 2023, Irizar will use the next year to re-evaluate Hispacold networks and create new opportunities.

“We want to create opportunities to put Hispacold HVAC systems on other bodies, such as the new generation Breeze unit,” Heanes says.

“The end goal is to service customers better than how we serviced them in the past so that the Hispacold brand is appreciated in Australia.”

What to look forward to in 2024

Alongside this whirlwind year involving new facilities, improved models and a HVAC focus, Irizar also has more product releases on the way in 2024.

Mid-year, Irizar will build the bodies for a new Scania hybrid model which is already gaining interest in a variety of sectors, including the resource market.

“We already have units of this sold, so we’re excited about it being released,” Heanes says.

“We’ll also continue to work closely with Volvo and other partners as they transition into the high-floor part of the electric vehicle sector.”

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