The history of Autokaross i Floby dates back almost 100 years to 1918, with the manufacture of wooden clogs in Floby, south Sweden. Using this expertise and still with wood as the raw material, at the beginning of the 1930s the business moved into the production of cabs and flatbed bodies for buses and goods vehicles. Over the next few years these activities became more concentrated with the company moving into aluminium production, which saw its product range expand to logging trucks and fire engines.
With quality and reliability criteria high, the ‘Floby cab’ became a standard during the 1950s and 60s – a tradition that is continued today as Autokaross i Floby is a leading supplier of bodies for light commercial vehicles in the Nordic market. The name Autokaross i Floby was first incorporated in 1990 to coincide with this business focus. Whilst the company remains headquartered in Floby, it also has branches in Södertälje, Gothenburg and Vellinge, which offers sales, assembly and servicing to clients.
The Group structure also incorporates two subsidiary companies – Autokaross Rescue Systems i Floby AB and Swedish Rescue Training Centre i Skövde AB. Managing director of Autokaross Rescue Systems (ARS) Fredric Johansson elaborates on the company’s operations: “Since the late 1970s and early 1980s we have been manufacturing rescue vehicles, fire engines and fuel-tanker trucks. Today we are the market leading supplier of fire and rescue vehicles in the Nordic countries, with particular speciality in technology design and building systems for special applications.”
The company offers a complete programme including rapid response vehicles and aircrash tenders. This product range has been increased even further as a result of ARS’ long-term co-operation with Polish company Wawrzaszek ISS – one of the biggest producers of fire rescue vehicles in Europe.
Having only been incorporated into the Group in 2009, Swedish Rescue Training Centre (SRTC) is the newest business division, offering risk and safety related training to Swedish and foreign rescue services, companies, and regulatory bodies. “We have a very high standard of rescue training, and our brand is well recognised across the world,” notes Hans Gustavsson, managing director of Autokaross i Floby. “In terms of achieving this status, I think it is in part due to the development within Sweden over the years of security standards. This has been strongly supported by the government, given the importance of these services to the citizens of the country, and as such we have a very close co-operation with them.”
Whilst SRTC offers a variety of training courses, it has a key focus on situation awareness, which looks at individual and group based actions and how these affect the outcome in both the short and long term. The company’s training grounds span over 300 acres, which enables it to offer nearly limitless scenario opportunities, divided into a number of differentiated zones – industrial, residential, fire and communication.
Commenting on other developments in the business Fredric highlights some of ARS’ latest products: “We have introduced a new rapid intervention vehicle to our portfolio, which is quite a new concept in the rescue centre. The vehicle can be equipped for various purposes and is designed to be the first response to an incident, such as a fire, followed by the larger rescue vehicles.
“In a similar sector, we have started to sell ambulances in the Nordic market from firma Miesen. The vehicle line up is from extended E-Class up to Mercedes Sprinter. Autokaross is forwarding the customers’ demand for the Nordic countries into the ambulance before delivery. In a similar market sector, we have also begun installing black boxes into our ambulances, which are built around the new Mercedes E class chassis.
“In terms of technology, we have also just launched a new platform for fire fighting medium, which is completely world class. Developed around our design, this system is completely connected to the truck chassis electronically and controlled through a touch screen display. We are the first manufacturers in the world to implement a control system such as this, and we believe that it is well suited to the needs of the future market.”
As demonstrated by these activities, Autokaross i Floby’s defining business strategy of satisfying customer needs for system solutions still remains at its core today. In terms of progressing this even further, Hans concludes with the business’ next steps: “We have several projects in the pipeline including a new box body, which will offer better design, reduced weight and CO2 emissions, as well as some other features, and is due to be presented to the market in October this year.
“As a Group, our vision for Autokaross i Floby is to be the market leader in Sweden for development, and beyond that we are now looking at growing our presence in the European market. Although we have clients from all over the world training at SRTC, in terms of our vehicle solutions our market is much more domestic. As such, our strategy going forwards is to grow our market for fire trucks, box bodies and components within Europe through co-operative partnerships.”
Autokaross i Floby AB
Products Special heavy vehicle solutions and light vehicle system solutions