Eagle Farm Shines Spotlight on Australian Bus Manufacturing

After seeing a 60 per cent surge in sales over the last five years, VDI Australia has opened a bigger manufacturing facility in Eagle Farm, dedicated to the local assembly of Yutong buses under a Driveable Knock Down programme that aims to support the city’s sustainable transport needs. 

The timing of the move couldn’t be more crucial, with Brisbane’s preparations for the 2032 Olympics placing a focus on zero-emissions transport initiatives.

A comprehensive array of Yutong vehicles, from the sleek D7E to the trusted C12, signals an important turning point in the city’s shift towards sustainable transport.

Photo Credit: VDI Australia

“This partnership between VDI and Yutong is a major step towards a greener future for south-east Queenslanders,” emphasised Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner.

VDI’s expansion hasn’t happened overnight. The company, the Australian distributor of Yutong vehicles, witnessed a 60% surge in Yutong bus sales over the past five years, necessitating a move to larger premises.

Their new facility is dedicated to a  Driveable Knock Down (DKD) programme, which will see the local assembly of Yutong buses, starting with the E12 battery-electric city route bus.

Photo Credit: VDI Australia

“This new facility, triple the size of our previous one, demonstrates our drive for excellence and commitment to growth,” explained VDI managing director Peter Woodward. “A significant order from Transport Canberra, which supported the DKD program, has been the driving force behind this expansion.”

The DKD programme will see Yutong models arrive in Brisbane from China, ready for localised fitting. This model creates local jobs and expertise while leveraging Yutong’s extensive electric bus experience. According to Woodward, this move streamlines the supply chain, leading to faster service and better part availability for operators.

VDI’s growth trajectory is reflected across Australia, with their footprint now exceeding 15,000 sq m, spanning Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, and Cairns. With an increasing market share, Woodward and the VDI team look to the DKD programme as a springboard for further evolution.

The Brisbane City Council, deep in preparations for the 2032 Games, sees VDI’s facility as a significant asset. “With four Yutong vehicles already performing well in our inner-city loop, we’re eager to transition more of our fleet to zero-emission buses,” stated Schrinner.

Photo Credit: VDI Australia

Yutong representatives were present at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, underscoring the strong partnership between the two companies. VDI’s facility will also become a hub for technical training and engineering support for Yutong products. With the demand for electric buses in Australia set to accelerate, VDI is positioning itself to meet the evolving needs of the industry.

“It’s inspiring to see the transformation of these vehicles and the value added here,” remarked Queensland shadow minister Steve Minnikin. “This facility is a remarkable achievement.”

While the facility’s opening is a major milestone, VDI and Yutong are already focused on bringing more innovative buses and coaches to the Australian market. With the Olympics on the horizon and a nationwide transition to zero-emissions underway, Brisbane City Council is turning to trusted partners like VDI and Yutong to help deliver cutting-edge bus technology to the city’s streets.

“Yutong’s scale and experience are unmatched,” Schrinner acknowledged. “We’re excited by their commitment to South East Queensland and the high-quality vehicles VDI is assembling. They’ll be essential as we strive to serve our community’s future needs.”

Published Date 08-May-2024