1960 - Expanding production
The 1960s was an expansive decade, when Scania-Vabis was more or less forced to expand, partly by adding new production sites in Sweden and abroad.
By the late 1950s, all Scania-Vabis production was still concentrated in Södertälje, but in the next decade, the company established manufacturing facilities at several other sites in Sweden and abroad.
The first production plant outside Södertälje was established in São Bernardo, near São Paulo, Brazil. During the 1950s, Brazil had evolved into an important market. Heavy trucks accounted for most sales, but the company also exported inter-urban buses, which performed well on the hilly, nearly impassable roads of Brazil's mountain districts.
These successes in Brazil became the gateway for the internationalisation of operations. In 1962 a complete plant for making trucks, bus chassis and industrial and marine engines was finished. A newly established company assumed independent responsibility for sales and production in Brazil.
Production within the EEC
After the European Economic Community was established in 1958, Scania-Vabis began production inside its customs walls. Partly due to the company's Dutch market success, the new assembly plant, completed in 1964, was located in Zwolle.
Dutch production created a bridgehead into the other five original EEC countries. In the 1960s, Scania-Vabis began making inroads into the large, difficult markets of Germany and France.
During the 1960s, Scania-Vabis decided to manufacture all vital, strategic components under its own auspices. This led to both forward and backward integration, also adding new sites to the company's production system.
In 1966, Scania-Vabis acquired Be-Ge Karosserifabrik in Oskarshamn, Sweden, which had made truck cabs since 1946. Until then, cabs had been designed and manufactured by independent bodybuilders, including the market leader Be-Ge, whose rugged cabs were used on a number of Volvo and Scania-Vabis truck models.
By the time Scania-Vabis built its assembly plant in Zwolle, the entreprising Bror Göthe Persson (after whom Be-Ge was named) had already established a cab factory in nearby Meppel.
More production relocations
The fact that Scania-Vabis gained new production facilities in Oskarshamn and Meppel was therefore not a strategic decision, but a direct consequence of an acquisition. The same was true of the establishment of Scania-Bussar in Katrineholm, Sweden. In 1967, Scania-Vabis AB acquired the coachwork company Svenska Karosseri Verkstäderna in Katrineholm. The following year, it moved all bus production there, along with the responsibility for developing and marketing buses.
Scania also established a new core shop at the Nordarmatur factory in Sibbhult, Sweden, and assembly operations at the ASJ factory in Falun, Sweden.
Despite the production relocations, the number of employees in Södertälje also increased. Scania-Vabis accounted for a constant influx of labour to the city and was the driving force behind the doubling of Södertälje's population from 30,000 in 1958 to 60,000 in 1970.
Although it was mainly circumstance that forced Scania-Vabis' management to add production to new locations, these new locations also relieved the pressure on Södertälje.