Manufacturing News

Celebrating Australian Made – Bawa family has cornered the trailer market

Manufacturing News

By Nicholas Way

For nearly two decades, the Bawa family-owned business, Sunrise International, has been supplying the market with an extensive and specialist range of trailer parts and accessories.

Starting in Melbourne in 2005, it now has two manufacturing plants there – Sunshine in the west and Chelsea Heights in the south – employing about 15 people, and distribution centres in Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney, with total employment numbering about 50.

Like many such niche manufacturing businesses, its beginnings were humble, in this instance a garage in suburban Melbourne. Operations manager Ray Bawa takes up the story.

“My father (Mander), who is still active in the business, started it from his garage in the outer Melbourne suburb of Keysborough, and we have just grown from there.

“Today, there are about 15 from the wider family in the business in all three states where Sunrise has a presence.

“There’s always been a manufacturing element to the business, but today it’s much more pronounced following the acquisition of Easylift in 2021 (it was founded in 1996) that made Sunrise the premier jockey wheel manufacturer, as well as making 4 x 4 suspensions for trailers and caravans under our WOLF brand.”

Bawa said what’s been observed over the journey is the customer demand for quality – and that the products manufactured by Sunrise have become synonymous with that. “This is why the Australian Made logo has become so important to our business.

“We only realised the value of the Australian Made symbol after we started expanding our manufacturing operations. We’ve learned that a lot of customers – hire and caravan companies, for example – prefer the quality on offer locally.

“We take a lot of pride in making sure that we have the licensing to show that logo so that people know it’s the genuine article.

“Many customers don’t know much about our products, but once they use them, it creates a bond between you and the customer.

“In our experience, they never go back to a cheaper but less reliable product, saying there not as sturdy and need replacing a lot more often.”

Although the Australian-made logo has given the business a fillip, Bawa said one of the biggest challenges facing the business was still a lack of recognition.

“I still think many people aren’t fully aware of our product range.

“Our regular customers know what value we bring to the table, but it’s critical we get that message out to a broader audience.”

Picture: Wolf independent suspension

This story is part of Celebrating Australian Made, an annual series sponsored by Australian Made and profiling its licensees. For more information on becoming a licensee, visit this link.


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