Continental rules in Bloem!

Louis de Villiers of Homsek Dairies says the recommendation to go with Continental’s new generation truck tyres was worth its weight in gold.

Continental’s latest new generation 2 truck tyres offer tangible customer benefits. That isn’t a marketing statement anymore. It’s been proven at two transport operators in Bloemfontein, as CHARLEEN CLARKE discovered…

When any new tyre is launched, there is a certain amount of doubt as to the manufacturer’s marketing claims. So it offers the lowest overall driving costs… Really?

That’s probably what transport operators thought when Continental launched its new generation 2 truck tyres in February last year. Continental made some bold promises, claiming its new generation 2 truck tyres would make a real difference in lowering the transport operators’ overall driving costs. However, the sceptics wondered if that would ever really materialise. After all, talk is cheap…

But two Bloemfontein-based transport operators have proven beyond any doubt that Continental’s new generation 2 truck tyres truly are lowering their overall driving costs. Frans Pretorius, owner of FMJ Trust, says: “We got 120 000 km with the old generation steer tyres and today we’re achieving 160 000 km with the new generation steer tyres.” That’s more than a 30 percent increase in mileage performance.

Cpk (cost per kilometre) is the single most important factor for the company. “I keep a tight reign on costs – from fuel consumption to tyre prices and longevity. The new Continental generation 2 tyres are definitely the way of the future for us. They also have good casings, which bodes well in terms of retreads,” says Pretorius.

FMJ stands for Frans Maartens Johan – Pretorius’s first names. The company, which operates Scania truck tractors, commenced trading in 1997. “I was in the construction business when I started the company; initially, this was just a sideline,” Pretorius recalls.

Frans Pretorius, owner of FMJ Trust, says these tyres are the way of the future for his operation.The so-called “sideline” took off and FMJ trucks currently transports a variety of cargo. “We move containers, grain, coal, manganese and palletised goods,” says Pretorius.

The company employs 21 people, including 16 drivers, plus Pretorius’s wife, Rene, who is the financial director.

Louis de Villiers, logistics manager at Homsek Dairies, is yet another utterly delighted Continental customer “We’re very happy with the Continental brand,” he comments.

Homsek Dairies operates a fleet of predominantly Mercedes-Benz Actros truck tractors and it names among its customer base prestigious companies such as Woolworths and Pick n Pay.

Being in the dairy game (fresh milk deliveries can never ever be late); Homsek has to run a tight ship. “Our trucks go out in the mornings and collect the milk. It generally leaves our premises by noon the next day; milk doesn’t stay here for long,” says De Villiers. Owner of one of the biggest herds in South Africa, Homsek produces milk, cream, custard, drinking yogurt and milk in both fresh and UHT formats.

But tyres were a major snag – which amounted to downtime and costly delays. “We’re going through a lot of tyres on the farm. Our single axles run on dirt and tar roads – and the tyres just didn’t last (the refrigerated units and Tautliners run exclusively on tar roads),” says De Villiers.

That’s understandable. Its trucks need to travel to farms to collect milk. “We need the most kilometres out of each and every tyre – maximum life and kilometres travelled,” adds De Villiers. “We use retreads on the trailers we use on the farm; otherwise we only use new tyres. We keep all our casings; we only produce retreads from our own casings.”

These trucks average 12 000 km a month, while the long-distance trucks do 20 000 to 25 000 km a month. “They run as far as Cape Town and Johannesburg,” De Villiers notes. The trucks (and hence the tyres) spend a considerable amount of time off road.

Because stoppages are a distinct “no-no”, the company has opted for the new generation 2 Continental truck tyres. “In the past we went for the cheapest possible tyre; we were not brand loyal. We realised that didn’t make sense. Recently we took the decision to purchase a tyre that would give us good mileage. We asked Tyre Corporation which tyre would best suit our application; they had no hesitation in recommending the new generation 2 Continental tyres,” says De Villiers.

This recommendation was worth its weight in gold. “We’re getting double the mileage versus the tyres we used previously. Furthermore, driver comfort has improved; the drivers tell us they can actually feel the difference. They particularly like the 385/65R22.5 – they reckon a wider tyre means a more comfortable ride,” De Villiers explains.

The Continental brand is more than up to the task of surviving South Africa’s roads. “On hot days the tar is really hot here. But our Continental tyres last – and they don’t lose pressure because of the heat. I’m also delighted with the durability of the Continentals. Recently one of our drivers hit a pothole smack on. He had a mix of tyres on his trailer. None of the Continentals failed; two other brands’ tyres burst instantly,” says De Villiers.

Given the company’s positive experiences with the Continental brand, it comes as no surprise to learn which tyres Homsek Dairies will be buying in times to come. “As a result of our positive experiences we’ve bought more and more Continental tyres. On front axles we’re only fitting the Continental HSR2 – since it has been specially designed for steer axles. The tread pattern ensures even ground pressure, which leads to wear being spread evenly across the face of the tyre, helping to maintain good adhesion, especially when cornering and braking. And there’s no doubt this buying pattern will continue in the future,” concludes De Villiers.

The message is clear: Continental’s new generation 2 truck tyres rule in Bloemfontein!

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