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Making the right move

What do you do if your business needs vehicles that comply with specific restrictions, but have little luck with most offerings on the market?  For Laser Transport, the solution was to contact Fuso Trucks.

The Laser Transport group’s primary function is household furniture removals across all regions of South Africa. The total fleet consists of 527 vehicles, 59 of which are FUSO models. Most recently, the Canter FE4-130, with a payload of up to two tonnes, was introduced to the fleet to fulfil a special role…

“Truck bodies are built for maximum volume, but big vehicles could no longer enter an increasing number of gated communities and office complexes. In these areas vehicles are restricted by height and weight, which forced us to find a solution for shuttling between the truck and the house,” explains Noel Goldman of Laser Transport.

“No dealer could give us a chassis that could meet the current restrictions. However, FUSO introduced a three-tonne vehicle that met the weight requirement and has a low ground clearance. The vehicle has a long wheelbase so we could have maximum body length and width, which made up for most of the lost volume in height.

“Furthermore, the rear overhang of the chassis could be dropped by
200 mm to provide space for fridges or tall machinery that has to be transported in an upright position,” Goldman explains.

Goldman says that this is not the only reason that the company is growing its fleet of FUSO vehicles.

“FUSO has the advantage in that it is very visible on the road, with a strong dealer support base, and most parts are available directly over the counter. The vehicle, itself, has a straightforward design. It has proved to have low maintenance costs and be very fuel efficient – more so than claimed by the manufacturer!” Goldman smiles.

“It is robust, of good quality, has a strong drivetrain and is well-priced,” he adds.

Goldman notes that ongoing communication and partnering with the right people is what it’s all about: “FUSO even honours warranties after the expiry date if the problem is a manufacturer fault. FUSO’s feedback, reporting and keeping us informed of changes on the models we are operating, is outstanding.”

For Laser Transport, the main return on investment lies in maximising the lifespan of the vehicle. “FUSO trucks were introduced to our fleet in 2007 and these vehicles are still operating with original drivetrains. For us the longevity of the vehicle is not based on kilometres, but on how many years it remains in operation.”

The company follows a full in-house vehicle preventative-maintenance programme. Mileages are recorded weekly and vehicle bodies are painted every five years to maintain brand image. “This way, we get two or more lifespans out of the vehicle,” Goldman says.

“FUSO has made it so difficult for us to look elsewhere…” Goldman concludes.

FOCUS on Transport and Logistics is one of the oldest and most respected transport and logistics publications in southern Africa.

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