Now a premium manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, Astra (Anonima Sarda TRAsporti) was established by Mario Bertuzzi in Cagliari, Italy in 1946, specialising in reconditioning and converting surplus war vehicles for civil use. Five years later it moved to new premises in Piacenza, from which the company went on to launch its first construction/quarrying vehicle, the BMI dumper, in 1956.
Rapid growth and expansion meant a new factory site was required, and in 1965 Astra opened a new factory, where it remains today. The company went on to develop a range of vehicles for off-road haulage, ranging from off-highway tractor units to articulated dump trucks (ADTs) and high capacity rigid dump trucks with payloads of up to 50 tonnes. Key markets include the mining, oil and gas, construction and heavy haulage sectors. In 1984, Astra proved the robustness of its machines by taking part in the gruelling Paris-Dakar rally with its BM309 truck, while also introducing an automatic transmission.
In 1986, Astra became 100% Iveco-owned, but the Astra brand was retained. Ten years later Astra celebrated its 50th anniversary, in the same year selling its 25,000th vehicle. In 1996 it also launched a new series of HD7 trucks with two, three or four axles, permanent multi-axle drive up to 8x8 and engines of up to 520hp. Three years later, Astra introduced an automatic transmission for its quarry trucks, and new 28t and 40t ADT models.
Astra articulated dump truck capacity continued to expand with the introduction of 25t and 30t models in 2000, before 35t and 40t models were added four years later. Driver comfort received a boost with the introduction of a suspension system on ADT25 and ADT30 models.
In 2003, Astra’s business was expanded through the acquisition of AIVI, an established and highly specialized extra heavy vehicles company producing machines capable of transporting up to 540 tonnes. AIVI had been a partner of Iveco since 1982.
As with Fiat Group’s other non-automotive divisions, in 2011 Astra was demerged from Fiat S.p.A to become part of the new Fiat Industrial, Fiat Group’s capital goods division. In 2013, the business was transferred to CNH Industrial, following the merger of Fiat Industrial and CNH Global N.V.
Today, the Astra range comprises four key ranges. There are two lines of off-road trucks, the HD9 and HHD9, available with up to four axles, all of which can be powered. They have respective possible gross combination weights of up to 300 and up to 400 tonnes. The range of Astra six-wheel-drive all-terrain dump trucks (ADTs) spans models with permissible payloads up to 37 tonnes. Rigid dump trucks for quarrying and mining span the 28-50 tonne capacity bracket.
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