Continuing the legacy: Three generations of automotive engineers make camping safer for Australians

Continuing the legacy: Three generations of automotive engineers make camping safer for Australians

Cruisemaster is a well-recognised name among off-road adventurers, producing premium independent arm suspension systems and couplings suited for safe off-road travelling in the Australian landscape.

Originally born as a retirement hobby by Arthur Goddard, the chief engineer in charge of designing Land Rovers from 1947 to 1957, Cruisemaster was turned into the professional business it is today when Chris Goddard, Arthur’s son and a mechanical engineer himself, joined the family business around 22 years ago. Chris’ son, Andrew, later joined the family business after completing his engineering degree and gaining some experience working with TJM 4WD, continuing the company’s legacy into the third generation.

Under Chris’ management, Cruisemaster soon gained recognition in the industry with its independent arm suspension systems. The original XT model was largely responsible for the emergence of independent arm suspension as the preferred choice for all-terrain application and this was then followed by the AXT, CRS and GT models.

“We’ve definitely influenced the widespread adoption of independent suspensions throughout the caravan industry,” says Andrew. “We believed that the adoption of an independent suspension over the traditional suspension types would give people more confidence to travel across Australia. Before this, some companies were making independent suspensions for their own trailer products, but our design made them more mass-manufacturable.”

While caravan and camper trailer suspensions are the cornerstone of the Cruisemaster legacy, the company also makes couplings for the safe towing of caravans and trailers. The Cruisemaster DO35 drop-on, all-terrain 3.5T coupling is designed to maximise towing safety across all types of terrains, both on- and off-road.

“At Cruisemaster, we design solutions for real-world problems and we also have our own testing methodology. This is important when developing products used in off-road conditions in Australia – conditions that are renowned worldwide for being among the toughest to survive. We bring automotive industry level design and development to a typically backyard industry,”
says Andrew.

“Our products have allowed more people to travel to remote destinations in Australia with confidence that they can get there and back without problems. Prior to our range of independent suspensions and couplings, these destinations were only accessed by intrepid consumers who were prepared and able to fix broken springs and axles at the side of the road. We have unlocked the outback for more Australians.”

From those early days in business when Cruisemaster was still called Vehicle Components, the company has been working closely with CBC as a trusted supplier of bearings and other industrial components and services.

Warren Beale, Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Manager for CBC in Queensland, who has been dealing directly with the Goddards since 2006, says he was not surprised when Cruisemaster bagged the Gold Award at the Let’s Roll: Australian Business Awards 2020.

“Cruisemaster’s strength as a company lies in their vision for growth. They could have continued supplying axles and hubs to the industry, but they said: We can do better than that. And now they have taken the company to a whole new level and carved a niche in the caravan and trailer industry, competing with the biggest names in this space.”

As part of its collaboration with Cruisemaster, Warren says CBC supplies the NTN bearings and seals for manufacturing Cruisemaster’s suspensions.

“NTN bearings are known for their reliability and that is why Cruisemaster has chosen NTN as their go-to brand for wheel bearings. A side bonus is that NTN bearings are so widely available across any corner of the country that if you get stuck on a remote location and need an urgent bearing replacement, you don’t need to look far.”

Beyond supplying parts and components, Warren says the CBC team also offers Cruisemaster engineering and technical support when required.

“Cruisemaster run a very rigorous testing program on their products and they may, at times, ask for CBC’s help with some of these tests. For example, we recently provided the electric motors, gearboxes, plummer box housings and bearings for Cruisemaster to design and manufacture test rigs for their suspensions to test their suitability on corrugated roads. We also offered some engineering design and application support for these test rigs.”

Andrew believes what drives the success of Cruisemaster, beyond all the innovations and high attention to product quality, is the level of customer service the company offers.

“Our motto is ‘Without Limits’ which is a reflection on not only our product development but also our attitude to manufacturing quality systems and customer service. Our Towing Performance Centre started out as a way to help us get our hands on our products whilst they are in service, which assists us in improving our products as they go through their life. We have since expanded our service offering to include modification and upgrade of vehicle towing systems to make them more suitable for the Australian conditions,” he says.

“Our long-term goal as a company is very much in line with our tagline, which is to be Australia’s leader in all-terrain towing technology. We want to be developing products that allow people to travel across Australia, with confidence.”