Iveco DV celebrates the 80th anniversary of the Bolzano plant

by Paolo Valpolini

The facility in Bolzano that nowadays hosts Iveco Defence Vehicles HQ and main plant was inaugurated on 6 July 1937 by Mrs. Adele Lancia, as it was raised by Lancia which main plant were located in Turin. Initially a foundry, it soon became a comprehensive production facility, especially after WW II when beside the Lancia plant Officine Viberti created nearby a bodywork production plant.

The Lancia 3 RO 564 was probably the first vehicle to be produced in the
Bolzano plant one year after its inauguration, in July 1937.
(Paolo Valpolini)

As underlined by Vincenzo Giannelli, Iveco DV CEO, today the Bolzano plant remains an integrated production facility as it used to be, most of the elements that make a vehicle exiting the assembly line being produced there. Four years ago Iveco DV decided to apply the World Class Manufacturing procedures, developed for automotive mass production, to the military production, which numbers are by far smaller; the move proved to be effective, also thanks to the full involvement of the manpower, and now production is leaner and cheaper.

The MMV here in one of the Route Clearance configuration is in service with the Italian Army
and will be further developed in specialised versions for combat support units. (Paolo Valpolini)

Since 1937 the factory has changed ownership numerous times, Iveco Defence Vehicles being since 2015 an autonomous entity within CNH Industrial. The decision to concentrate in Bolzano the military and special vehicles production dates back to 1984 when Iveco Defence Vehicles Division was created, giving birth one year later to the CIO consortium with Oto Melara, which developed and produced a series of new combat vehicles for the Italian Army, the Centauro, Ariete Dardo and Puma. Among Iveco DVD successes the VM-90 light truck the workhorse of the Italian Army in the ‘90s, exported in its military or commercial version in many countries, including China.

The 70.20 Military Utility Vehicle aims at replacing the VM-90 in the Italian armed forces and among other export customers. (Paolo Valpolini)

In the early 2000 the company developed the Light Multirole Vehicle, over 4,000 having been produced o Italy and 13 export customers. “We have faced a production reduction in recent years due to military budgets reduction ,” Giannelli said, adding that he looks positively to the future, Iveco DV being developing a whole series of new projects. Among those the amphibious vehicle derived from the SuperAV and developed with BAE Systems for the USMC ACV 1.1 programme is considered of major importance, 16 vehicles being currently in the EMD trials in the US. The Centauro II mobile gun system is undergoing qualification tests in Italy, the VTLM.2 being the successor of the LMV, which had reached the upper limit of its growth potential. The celebration was also the opportunity to introduce the new 70.20 Military Utility Vehicle to local authorities, the successor of the VM-90 having been unveiled at Eurosatory 2016. Many other projects are being developed at Iveco DV, the company working at answering the increasing protection needs of its customers, remaining a leader in the armoured vehicles field, currently over 30,000 armoured and non armoured vehicles produced by Iveco DV being in service worldwide.

Although similar in shape, the LMV 2 is a new vehicle compared to the older LMV
and was developed to answer the increasing g protection and payload requirements. (Paolo Valpolini)