ARB, is one of the most well known names in the 4WD accessory industry but like many successful businesses it started in someone’s garage. That someone was Anthony Ronald Brown, more commonly known as Tony. After a trip to the top end of Australia he felt that there was a need for good quality, reliable products for the 4WDers of Australia. In 1975 he decide that he would take it into his own hands and formed ARB Engineering Pty Ltd.
The Australian environment is one like very few others in the world, it has countless corrugations, extreme heat and…Australians. Aussies are well known for being hard on equipment, we expect that when we buy something that it will last regardless of the torture that we put it through. ARB’s aim was to produce products that would stand up to these conditions time and again.
From the speed at which ARB grew it is safe to say that they achieved their initial goals and much more. Within the first two years, the team had added more members to its team. Within six years they had moved from a 98m2 workshop into a 2137m2 space and five years after that they more than doubled the size into a 5110m2. By the time they had moved into this last warehouse they had a store in every state of Australia, 46 employees, two of which were Tony’s brothers and they were continuing to grow rapidly.
1987, was a big year for ARB as that’s the year they released the ARB Air locker in both Australia and the US. On top of that, they also released the ARB compressor and listed themselves on the Stock exchange. These events set them up for the years to come and are some of the reasons that they are still a successful company. 1988 saw the purchase of OME suspension and the beginning of distribution of IPF driving lights.
With the “Best New Off Road Product” award from SEMA under their belt for the ARB Air Locker, they set up a full time office in Seattle, Washington in 1991.
The 90’s were again full of big product launches; air bag compatible bull bars, ARB tow bars, and ARB canopies to name a few. To add to the accolades for the 90’s ARB was also the main sponsor for the first Outback Challenge in 1999, and launched their first website. All of this hard work led to them move into their current location in Kilsyth, over four times bigger than their previous site at a monstrous 16,723m2.
The new century ushered in ARB’s international era. Stores were set up in Africa, UAE and Mongolia; on top of that they also opened a new factory in Thailand to help supplement their current Kilsyth production. While much of the Australian production still continued in Australia, many of the international products began to be manufactured in Thailand.
ARB USA is also on the rise, recently opening a warehouse in Jacksonville that will help to reduce the shipping time and costs to customers on the East coast and in Central and South America. They are also about to make available their modular bumper system for US domestic trucks. This system has been seen on a few occasions recently and will feature a number of possibilities for owners. The base will be a flat bumper with the ability to add on a center loop as well as Deluxe style wing bars.
ARB continues to grow for a number of reasons, primarily their attention to quality, reliability and service. They continue to create products that will stand up to the harshest environments in the world. Further to that they strive to provide excellent customer service, something that is becoming less and less common in the modern age.
The quality and reliability of ARB’s products comes largely through their stringent manufacturing process. While a large majority of the product design and testing is situated in Australia, there is also a product development team here in the US to ensure that products are suitable for the American market. So when you buy an ARB product you know that it has been designed by experts in the field and that the manufacturing process is quality controlled.
Over the years ARB has accumulated a range of 4WD accessories that is unrivaled by almost anyone in the market. They have everything from tyre deflators to fridges, suspension systems to roof top tents, snatch straps to bull bars. In many cases you could fit your vehicle out almost entirely with ARB products and that is their goal, to have everything you need for your next adventure. ARB has been with me on almost every trip I have done since I was knee high to a grasshopper. Now that I am at the age where I’m considering how I will set up my own vehicle in the coming years I know it will involve many ARB products. They have always served me well and the fact that they are an Australian company will always help my vote. Keep up the good work ARB.