THIS MONTH WE TALK TO BRENT HUTCHINSON FROM TERRAIN TAMER

Describes your business.

THE AUSTRALIAN AUTOMOTIVE 4X4 MARKET HAS A RICH AND PROUD HERITAGE. FOR YEARS LOCAL DESIGN, INGENUITY AND MANUFACTURING HAS CREATED MANY FANTASTIC FOUR WHEEL DRIVE RELATED PRODUCTS.

AT 4X4 AUSTRALIA WE ARE PROUD TO SHOWCASE AND SUPPORT TRULY AUSTRALIAN ENGINEERED AND MANUFACTURED PRODUCTS - HERE ARE A FEW AUSSIE MANUFACTURERS KEEPING THE DREAM ALIVE, HELPING TO KEEP THE LOCAL MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY THRIVING AND KEEPING PEOPLE IN REAL JOBS.

SO SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL AUSSIE MADE PRODUCTS.

Describes your business.

We are the 4WD parts people, for almost 50 years we have been designing, testing and manufacturing strong 4WD Parts.

Tell us some of the history of your company:

Frank Hutchinson started the business with the late Don Kyatt back in 1969. Don, who was much older, was a parts wizard. He could recite every part number off the top of his head and was able to teach Frank the trade from the bottom up. They could both see a need for strong reliable parts for vehicles that needed to travel through regions that OEM parts would often fail.

In the early days we were supplying Bedford and Leyland parts as early pioneers travelled through the red centre.

Bill King (the founder of AAT Kings) was one of our early customers to do these trips. If you wanted an education on how to strengthen a vehicle, this is where you found it. If we could get our customers, like Bill across the Simpson Desert (and back again), then we had them for life!

If a vehicle had a weakness, then it was a sharp learning curve on how we could strengthen it.

Although the vehicles have changed it is that sharp learning curve that has propelled the company. “Terrain Tamer” is culmination of all our knowledge that has been built up through our customer’s experience and is materialised in the form of 4WD Parts.

Where is the company at now?

Expansion for Terrain Tamer is very exciting right now. Last year we released over 900 parts to our range and this year has started just as strong. Most of these parts are 2- 3 years in the making so the wheel keeps turning with many new makes and models.

2013 was incredible for us with our Head Office move to our new 32,000 square meter location in Tottenham, Victoria with our own Test Track.

Its great for product development but the track also spreads the 4WD enthusiasm amongst the staff. Some have been caught coming to work early to test the capacity of their own vehicles, away from the eyes of the other staff members.

As a company we have 120 staff members across 12 warehouse locations and 4 countries.

What is your companies or products unique selling point?

Specialist 4WD Parts people. We are also very proud to have 20 staff members who have been with us for over 25 years. This is incredible and Frank has been able to teach each of them, just like Don taught him… to be Parts Wizards.

If you could say only two words about your product or service, what would that be?

Trust and Knowledge.

What makes you different from your competition?

We are more comparable with the genuine dealer’s parts range than the aftermarket.

With over 40, 000 parts a workshop can place an order and have the order filled immediately. This is very important for our core customers who have the vehicle on the hoist.

The range includes bearing kits, suspension, filtration, engine parts, brake, clutch, cooling, driveline, steering, differential, and 4WD accessories such as free wheeling hubs, e lockers, recovery gear and Australian-made straps.

What products are you developing now?

This can be top secret but I can let you in on a few that are ready to be released in the next few months.

Tapered Wire Coil Springs. We are really excited by this one! - Watch this space.

We consider our Tooling Program as a game changer, where we can create new tooling to our designs. We can strengthen OEM parts where we know there are weaknesses. Each prototype undergoes independent metallurgy testing here in Melbourne.

This extensive process has really enhanced Terrain Tamer’s reputation for quality.

Spindles, drive shafts, CV joints, hubs, tail shafts, gears and axles are all rolling out from this tooling program through 2014.

Who uses your products?

Those who care. Those who rely on their vehicles and need them to be reliable.

So our customers can take the form of a mining contractor, emergency services or farmer who knows a broken down vehicle will cost him lost productivity and of course we have the owner operator who simply wants the best for his vehicle, because its his passion.

What is your greatest achievement?

Spreading the 4WD bug around the world with our people and our customers. We allow access to the land in a way that people feel more at ease, knowing they have our support. It’s a big beautiful country and we should never be scared to explore it.