Amazing things can happen when such a committed relationship exists between customer and supplier – they can be created, too… GAVIN MYERS finds out how the home-grown, Scania-inspired R900 Kivara came into being.
The relationship between Scania South Africa and Time Link Cargo is a model for any successful customer/supplier relationship. It began in 2003 when CEO Kamal Mitoo established the company. He chose the Scania brand back then, and hasn’t bought any other brand of vehicle since.
A die-hard fan of the Scania V8 models, Mitoo was recently presented with an award from Scania South Africa for the biggest fleet of V8s running in the Western Cape. Time Link’s vehicle-replacement policy is set at 36 months, and, in September 2017, it took delivery of 45 new R500s. Another 25 are on order for delivery in 2019.
“We pride ourselves in delivering goods on time, every time; long-distance transport is what we do best. Running the Scania R500 V8s helps us to achieve these objectives. The V8 offers a mix of good fuel consumption, pulling power, carrying capacity, driver comfort and safety,” Mitoo suggests.
Fleet maintenance is taken care of by a full Scania repair and maintenance contract, and the two parties are exploring the possibility of opening a dedicated servicing facility at Time Link’s new premises.
“With the number of vehicles in the Time Link fleet, they are serviced at a rate of three per day – it makes sense to have a workshop on site where our technicians can be based. This cuts downtime, improves efficiencies and reduces costs,” comments Malcolm Olivier, regional sales manager, Scania Western Cape.
Olivier has been Mitoo’s go-to-guy since 2006, and the two men have a very close working relationship.
“Our ties with the executive management of Scania in South Africa and Sweden are indicative of the relationship we’ve built over many, many years,” Mitoo suggests.
The relationship is such that Time Link became the sole operator of a Scania R730 V8 on the African continent. Mitoo explains: “It was a test vehicle that Scania South Africa brought in to evaluate, and we were given the opportunity to run it in operation. To this day it has exceeded expectations in every respect.”
Which brings us neatly to the beauty you see on these pages – the R900 Kivara. A trip to Sweden with Scania, and a visit to renowned Scania custom builder Svempas, had Mitoo joking about building a one-of-a-kind show vehicle back at home. “The idea ran away with us from there,” he chuckles.
Over a period of 24 months – and keeping the project very hush-hush – Scania South Africa research and development manager, Bengt Fura, managed the project, while one of his technicians, Nico Starbeck, hand-built the bespoke drivetrain.
Meanwhile, Bayside Truck and Trailer Solutions in Cape Town was contracted to create the stunning coachwork and upgrade the interior to equally superb levels.
The bespoke engine is a hybrid marine and truck engine producing 900 hp (671 kW). As if that weren’t enough, it runs a dual nitrous-oxide system. Fittingly, the rear tyres are all 385-width to ensure there is sufficient grip.
As a man who values relationships, the name Kivara comes from a combination of Mitoo’s daughter’s and son’s names – while the 900 moniker holds further significance in that she was born on the ninth day and he in the ninth month.
What a striking testament to the strength of the relationship between Time Link Cargo and Scania South Africa!