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ELVO Hellenic Vehicle Industry

ELBO S.A. is the Greek Army's largest supplier of various types of armored and other vehicles. ELVO (standing for "Elliniki Viomihania Ohimaton", or Hellenic Vehicle Industry), is a Greek vehicle manufacturer. This company managed to survive the evolutions that basically wiped out the Greek motor industry in the 1980s and 1990s, as it was the only state-owned company in its field.

It was founded in 1972 in Thessaloniki with the name Steyr Hellas S.A. and until the early 1980s the Austrian company owned a significant part of its capital. Its original activity in the 1970s was assembly, with progressively increasing local content, of trucks, motorbikes and farm tractors. Orders by the Greek state soon gave momentum to the company as it undertook huge orders for trucks and buses by the Greek military and a number of state and city authorities (some say, at the expense of other Greek companies).

The Greek state acquired a majority of the company in 1986. In 1987, after the transfer of Austrian shares to the Greek State, the company was renamed HELLENIC VEHICLE INDUSTRY S.A. (ELBO S.A). The Greek company's first original design was a military bus introduced in 1981. In the same year it undertook the construction of "its own" 'Leonidas' Armored Personnel Carrier. In 1987 ELBO introduced Leonidas-2. Hundreds were built, while a number of different versions were proposed. In the years that followed ELBO became a major producer of military and civilian trucks for a variety of uses, military jeeps, customized vehicles and machinery, and buses, with significant exports.

ELBO-bodied buses exported to Singapore in 1996 were welcomed by that country's press as the first low-floor buses in the wider region. A number of ambitious plans for company development and new products were not realized, as the state character of the company linked it to effects from government changes and mismanagement.

ELBO rather surprised many in 1998, introducing an extremely advanced Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicle of its own design and development, named Kentaurus. However, the vehicle to this date has not been ordered by the Greek military due to reduced budgets.

Another step towards original developments was its initiative for the creation of a light sports car, which was assigned to TWT, a German-Greek engineering company. The prototype of the 'ELBO Aletis', an attractive car designed by Pininfarina with Volkswagen engine, was introduced in the Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung in Frankfurt in 2001, but was never produced.

The Salonika factory had a 2 year contract for the supply to the Greek army of 2,500 G-Wagens, which will make the total made in Greece some 8-9,000 units since assembly started a few years back. All the Greek army G-Wagens are Mercedes badged. The first versions of the G-Wagen made in Salonika were of the 462 series 240 GD, fitted with the very sluggish 2,4 litre 4 cylinder diesel with 72 BHP and a 4 speed manual gearbox. Post 1990 orders are of the naturally-aspirated 290 GD with 94 BHP and still manual. But the current contract specifies the 290 GD mated to the 4-speed auto gearbox. Naturally all have 24-volt electrics. Something curious is that the cars built post-1990 are 461 series, as in the Graz factory, and no longer 462 series as they originally were.

There are two variants, the ton, a soft-top SWB (2400 mm) and the 1 ton, a LWB (2800 mm) chassis-cab with a high-capacity pick-up tray in the back covered with a soft-top. This latter has the wider heavy duty axles together with the front flared wheel-arches (the ones at the back are not needed given the wider width of the tray as compared with the cabin).

In 2000 ELBO was partly privatised, when the Greek Mytilineos metal and engineering group undertook the company's management. In August 2000, 43% of the shares and the management of the company was transferred to the joint venture of METKA S.A. and MYTILINEOS S.A. HOLDING Company. In December 2001, after an increase of ELBO's share capital by GrD 5.6 billion, the participation of Mytilineos Group of Companies reached 47.5%. This is the first of a series of sequential increases totaling GrD 20 billion, to be carried out by 2006. The increase of ELBO's share capital signals the beginning of a new era for the company, which coincides with its return to profitability.

ELVO S.A. has two well equipped workshops in Athens and Thessaloniki. The availability of spare parts and the mobile service units, guarantee a constant rapid assistance. The production facilities of ELBO S.A. are located in the Industrial Area of Thessaloniki and cover a total area of 270.000 sq. meters, 60.000 of them are built- up area. ELBO S.A. possesses the industrial infrastructure to produce all types of vehicles for military and commercial use. ELBO's human resources comprise of specialize technicians with long experiense in the specific field of work and administrative staff with advanced skills in handling processes for the joint manufacturing of vehicles with foreign firms.

ELBO S.A. in its effort to provide high quality products and services to its customers, has created and certified a Quality Management System according to the International Quality Standard ISO 9001 : 2000, The certification was granted by TUV HELLAS member of RWTUV S.A. Group of Companies.

Future programs that expected to be assigned to ELBO S.A., include the assembly of Main Battle Tank (MBT), under the procurement programs of the Greek Armed Forces, the "KENTAURUS" (AIFV) Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicle, the modernization of existing armored tanks and other vehicles. The fate of this company in a new age of globalism and intense international competition, anymore depends on its own creativity and resources.

In the frame of a procurement program of the HMOD for 170 Leo 2 Hel MBTs signed between KMW and HMOD, ELVO acted as subcontracting company of KMW concerning the assembly of the turret, the chassis and the integration of the MBTs. Beginning of the year 2004 a contract was signed with KMW for the complete assembly and integration of 140 Leo 2 Hel MBTs in ELVO facilities in Greece. For the purpose of this program it was necessary to prepare an investment program of 45 mi in new buildings, new infrastructure, special tools and know how transfer.This investment plan was realized as an offset program and was completed in 2,5 years. During that period new assembly buildings of 6.000m, new EMC room of 500m and a new Test track on a surface of 80.000m were constructed.

Also special tools and fixtures for the assembly and test of chassis and turret as well as for the integration and test of the complete MBT were fabricated. In the offset program were included the transfer of Know how for assembly, integration, tests and extended training programs. The technical documentation system consisted of assembly drawings, assembly routings, quality control operations and BOM was transferred and adapted to the ERP system of ELVO.

The production started on the year 2007 and completed end of the year 2009. Although it was a complicated program to which apart from ELVO the main Greek defense sector companies were involved as subcontractors of major components of the MBT, the program was completed successfully and without deviations.

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Page last modified: 07-08-2012 13:22:19 ZULU