Irizar cavalcade marks 125th celebration
Irizar Group marked its 125th year in business with a celebration at its factory in Northern Spain.
The event was attended by the president, or Lehendakari, of the Basque Government and other local dignitaries together with the Irizar family, customers and supporting businesses – more than 700 people – who heard presentations from Gorka Herranz, President of the Cooperative, Jose Manuel Orcasitas, CEO of Irizar Group, and others.
The spectacle of the party was a procession of 12 Irizar vehicles spanning the 125 years, parading to the sound of solo soprano Nerea Erauskin.
Irizar Group was founded in 1889 by Jose Antonio Irizar, who developed a business which began by making ironwork for horse-drawn carriages into one which built elegant stagecoaches and carriages. Three decades later, it began building carriages with combustion engines.
It wasn’t until 1948 that Irizar’s vehicles used metal in the bodywork, and 1953 before all-metal bodywork was order of the day. Irizar became a cooperative in 1963.
The real growth of the company began in 1995, when it began to internationalise itself using a bodywork transfer strategy, opening production plants in China, Morocco, Brazil, Mexico, India and South Africa. It also bought Hispacold and Masats. As a result, Irizar Group has had 14 years of growth.
It made a bold move in 2009, in the midst of the banking crisis, to focus itself on coach manufacture and to concentrate on both automotive technology and quality. This has resulted in the acquisition of Jema Energy, Datik and Alconza, and in 2012, the formation of Creatio, Irizar Group’s research, design and development centre.
The celebration was also used as an opportunity to inaugurate the new, 1,200m2 production hall which houses Creatio, a new showroom and reception area for visiting customers.