Home Fleetwatch 2022 GRW expands global reach with Van Hool Industrial Vehicles acquisition

GRW expands global reach with Van Hool Industrial Vehicles acquisition

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Not only has GRW built top class products for the South African market but through its global expansion, the company has shown that South Africa can compete on the world stage as a leader.
Not only has GRW built top class products for the South African market but through its global expansion, the company has shown that South Africa can compete on the world stage as a leader.

GRW, South Africa’s home-grown trailer manufacturer, has further expanded its drive into the European market with its successful acquisition of Van Hool Industrial Vehicles, a prominent player in the European trailer manufacturing industry. This strategic move marks a significant milestone in GRW’s expansion strategy, fortifying its position as a key player in the global market.

With robust brand visibility in both Europe and North America, Van Hool is renowned for its high-quality vehicles, innovative designs and commitment to sustainability.

GRW will use Van Hool’s truck trailer manufacturing facilities in Belgium and retain key Van Hool personnel to sustain the plant’s production momentum and maximise market reach. 

“Van Hool’s reputation for innovation and reliability complements our own values, allowing us to further enhance our product portfolio and reinforce our position as an industry leader,” says Gerhard van der Merwe, GRW CEO.

The Van Hool factory in Belgium will continue the production of stainless-steel road tankers, containers, gas tankers, cryogenic tankers and container chassis. 

A legacy of excellence

Founded in 1947 by Bernard Van Hool in Koningshooikt, Belgium, the Van Hool brand has gained iconic status in European commercial transport sectors as a manufacturer of premium coaches, buses and heavy-duty truck trailers.  

Gerhard van der Merwe, Chief Executive Officer of GRW: “This growth trajectory underscores GRW's commitment to providing world class products and services to a diverse global clientele.”
Gerhard van der Merwe, Chief Executive Officer of GRW: “This growth trajectory underscores GRW’s commitment to providing world class products and services to a diverse global clientele.”

Prior to its Industrial Vehicles division buyout by GRW in April 2024, Van Hool in its entirety employed approximately 4 100 people worldwide, with production facilities in Koningshooikt (Belgium) and Skopje (North Macedonia).

“We eagerly anticipate integrating Van Hool’s expertise into our joint operations to enhance efficiency and optimise lean manufacturing processes,” says Van Der Merwe.

GRW, a family-owned South African business established in 1996, has rapidly expanded its influence beyond its home country, establishing a strong presence across Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, the United Kingdom, the Middle East and Australia. 

“This growth trajectory underscores GRW’s commitment to providing world class products and services to a diverse global clientele. In 2018, Schmitz Cargobull AG, a leading European trailer manufacturer, made a strategic investment by acquiring a 39% stake in GRW, forging a partnership that delivers excellent synergies,” van der Merwe states. 

The integration of Van Hool’s knowledge and capabilities with GRW’s extensive resources positions the combined entity for continued growth in highly competitive global trucking markets. 

“Acquiring a brand like Van Hool, renowned for its prominent brand presence and exceptional vehicle quality, was a pivotal step for GRW. With a strong emphasis on streamlined manufacturing, technical knowledge transfer and expanding a global operations network, GRW and Van Hool are positioned to drive innovation and deliver exceptional value to customers worldwide,” concludes van der Merwe.

FleetWatch has followed the growth of GRW since its inception back in 1995 and wow, talk about proudly South African. Well, GRW is it for not only have they built top class products for the South African market, but they have shown that South Africa can compete on the world stage as a leader. Salute to GRW!

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