Australia is trailing much of the developed world on heavy vehicle emissions and the Scania boss believes it will be his customer’s customers’ that can get the ball rolling here.
Henrik Henriksson (seen above) has been the President and CEO of Scania for nearly three years, in total he’s spent 22 years of his career with the Swedish truck and bus manufacturer.
And the past three years he has overseen the final development and launch of the brand’s new-generation trucks.
In Australia for a series of meetings with local management, as well as sitting down with some of Scania’s biggest and most loyal Australian customers, Mr Henriksson addressed the road transport media at a press conference in Melbourne.
And the big message he delivered was around his wish (and no doubt Scania’s too) to see Australia catch up with our overseas cousins who generally have a cleaner and greener truck and bus fleet.
The majority of the Scania trucks and buses sold in Australia today are Euro 6 compliant, that’s in a market where most top-selling models come with powertrains meeting just Euro 5 (the standard mandated by government).
Many other nations require new vehicles to meet the Euro 6 standard.
But Mr Henriksson, the first Scania President to come to Australia in 15 years, said truck manufacturers who don’t have the latest powertrain technology run the risk of getting left behind.
He said he’s seen a shift in expectations from the Australian businesses who contract transport companies to haul their goods.
The Scania boss said just about every major business operating in Australia highlights their ‘green credentials’ in their company profiles and he believes there is a growing emphasis on the transport emissions.
The Scania boss said this creates an opportunity for Scania with the brand keen to form partnerships not just with the brand’s traditional customers, but also the customer’s customer.
“We are on a quest, we have a clear purpose as a company to drive the shift towards most sustainable transport solutions.” – Henrik Henriksson.
“This is something we decided to do because CO2 emissions coming from heavy duty transport represents close to 20% of global emissions,”
“We are a part of the problem, but we want to be part of the solution.
“I believe if you aren’t sustainable you won’t survive.”
Meantime, Mr Henrikkson also declared that the future of road transport was undoubtedly electric, but he said it will take time to get there.
The Scania chief said bridging technology like hybrid powertrains and alternative fuels were the stepping stones towards the future, and are ready to go now.
While he said for long distance applications a combination of the two was ideal – particularly a hybrid powertrain that includes a range extender powered by natural gas.
Mr Henriksson telling us the brand is committed to giving customers the right powertrain for the application, based on technology that works in the here and now.
Lastly, the visiting Scania executive said he was generally pleased with how the brand was travelling in the local market, despite some recent supply challenges.
The new-generation Scania truck has proven to be perhaps a little more successful than the business had anticipated, while the change over between the old model and the new offering had also put some constraints on production numbers, according to Mr Henriksson.
Another issue that contributed to the problem, an industrial dispute at the Scania V8 casting plant, also put the brakes on deliveries.
But the Scania boss said 2019 is looking likely to see many more vehicles produced for global customers.
While he also hinted at further investment in the Scania Australia business, which he said has a bright future in the Aussie market.
“We are now a very competent and capable organisation locally, we have everything needed to move our ambitions up in regards to market share.
“That is our ambition too.”