We don’t build anything here in the UK, do we? Wrong! There’s a thriving truck-building industry in the heart of Lancashire which builds just about every DAF you’ll see in this country
By Dougie Rankine
PHOTOGRAPHY Steve McCann
Trucks have been built in the town of Leyland, Lancashire since 1896. Today, PACCAR’s European division, DAF, designs and builds all LF model variants and builds almost all right-hand drive variants of the CF and XF ranges right here in the UK. It employs 950 people at its 86-acre site. Trucking went to visit the Leyland Trucks factory to meet with managing director, Ron Augustyn, and find out about a great British success story.
First, some background information: Dutch truck-maker DAF bought the ailing British Leyland in 1987 to form Leyland DAF. Financial difficulties followed, and in 1993 the company went into receivership. After a management buy-out which saw the company divided up, Leyland of the UK and then DAF of Holland were bought by PACCAR, which gave the American giant the opportunity to expand and strengthen its European operations. Since the takeover, the DAF brand has gone from strength to strength in Europe, doubling its market share since 2000, moving from last place among the major manufacturers to third overall and into pole position in the UK. Over $350 million has been invested in Leyland since the takeover in 1998.
The Leyland site has seen considerable investment from PACCAR. It’s not just an assembly line either; there’s a full product engineering and development team here which has been solely responsible for the design of the hugely popular DAF LF. The PACCAR Parts distribution division also operates from Leyland, keeping the UK’s 136 DAF dealers stocked with parts. Investment in Leyland from PACCAR has seen an 85 per cent improvement in product quality from 2001 to 2013.
As featured in the July 2014 issue of Trucking. Buy the magazine here