DAF Trucks has strengthened its market position in Europe. In 2016, its market share in the heavy segment (16+ tonnes) grew considerably by 0.9 percentage point to 15.5%. The Westerlo plant is expanding accordingly.
In Belgium, DAF now holds a 19.1% market share. This makes Belgium one of the Group’s strongest countries, with a manufacturing site in Westerlo, among other locations.
Production in Westerlo mirrors growth
The increasing popularity of DAF Trucks can be explained by its wide range.
“The current generation of DAF trucks are the best ever,” DAF Westerlo plant manager, Marc Beets, tells BeAutomotive. “Not only do they consume relatively little fuel; they are also incredibly reliable and extremely robust. We’ve seen a rise in the demand for our trucks in recent years as a result.
In Westerlo, DAF Trucks manufactures cabs and axles. If demand for our DAF trucks rises, production in Westerlo increases accordingly, and so does our suppliers’ business.”
220 cabs and 550 axles a day
The Westerlo plant is currently producing some 220 cabs and 550 axles daily. Each cab and each axle is built to the customer’s specific requirements. Once these axles and cabins are built, they are transported by road to the plant in Eindhoven (Netherlands) where they arrive just in time to be mounted onto the right frame.
Over 100 million euro investment
DAF Trucks is investing continuously in the Westerlo manufacturing plant. The new cab paint shop is the most impressive innovation. It is the world’s most environment-friendly paint shop. Over 100 million euro were invested in it, which is proof that the Group has strengthened its anchoring in the Kempen region even more.
The new cab paint shop will be officially commissioned shortly. The first cabs are expected to come out of the paint shop in May.
Current employment strong enough
In 2015, 400 additional employees were recruited, raising the total number of people employed in the Westerlo plant to 2,400.
“We are able to meet the growing production demand by organising work processes optimally and retraining blue and white-collar employees,” adds Beets.
DAF has strengthened its position in almost all European countries and is market leader in the Netherlands, the UK, Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria.
DAF Trucks remains ambitious. “We aim to raise our European market share from 16% to 20% over the coming years. The impact of such growth on jobs in Westerlo is impossible to estimate.”