Recently, Portland became the first company in Cape Town to take delivery of a FAW 33.420 FT. The company bought its first batch of FAW trucks some eight years ago and is now on its third buying cycle with FAW.
“There are two important factors for us when purchasing a truck: purchase price and quality of the backup provided,” explains Portland’s MD, Nico Heyns. “Of these two factors, after-sales backup is the most important.”
Apart from in its quarry in Durbanville, Portland runs a number of FAW 28.380 FT 6×4 truck tractors with flat-deck trailers up and down the Cape Peninsula, with payloads of up to 28 t, and gross combination mass of around 63 t.
While most of its ready-mix vehicles do not drive long distances, the terrain in the company’s quarry is steep with long inclines and is very demanding on the vehicles. Having breakdowns in this environment is completely out of the question.
This is partly why Portland adopted a strict truck-renewal policy, which sees its trucks replaced every three years. Truck maintenance is set at 300-hour intervals, with the FAW trucks working 12 hours per day, five days a week. An on-site technician from FAW Cape Town sorts out minor issues as they occur.
“FAW is prepared to listen to us in order to solve our problems,” Heyns says. In fact, a Chinese FAW delegation was sent to South Africa to view Portland’s vehicles and make technical changes as per the company’s unique requirements.
“FAW Cape Town and dealer principal Vernon Rudman are always available and willing to help us. As customers, we appreciate the fact that we can speak to FAW senior management if necessary. Overall, we have an excellent working relationship,” Heyns confirms.