Mining and construction manufacturer, Komatsu South Africa has dramatically increased its share in the local grader market following the delivery of 28 GD675-5 motor graders to the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Department of Transport.

The fleet represents the biggest single sale of this particular product in southern Africa and one made against stiff competition from several rival manufacturers.

According to Komatsu’s General Manager: Sales and Marketing, Mike Helm, a number of key factors contributed to the success – not least Komatsu’s ability to tailor products to meet specific customer requirements.

“The department stipulates that a second seat be fitted to all graders to accommodate a driver’s assistant or lookout as a safety precaution. Close cooperation between Komatsu’s factory in Japan and local technical specialists ensured that we could produce a product that is fully compliant with the department’s specifications.”

The sale was finalised late in December 2016, and saw a great deal of activity at Komatsu’s Isando-based headquarters through Christmas and into the new year. Pressure was intense as the department was not only keen to replace its existing and aging fleet of graders, but to accommodate as many units as possible before the end-March closure of its financial year.

“While price was undeniably an important consideration, Komatsu was able to offer a competitive, high specification product with the added benefit of KomCare, a maintenance and service package,” said the company in a statement.

The delivery of the entire fleet, complete with modifications, began in March and was completed by mid-April to four different locations across the province. The graders’ primary task is the creation and maintenance of rural gravel roads.

Eight were shipped to Empangeni, a similar number to Pietermaritzburg, 10 to Ladysmith and a further couple to Durban. They will eventually work the length and breadth of KZN, from the border of Mozambique to the north, as far down as the Eastern Cape and inland toward the Free State and Lesotho.

“The acquisition gave Komatsu an opportunity to demonstrate the attention to detail it devotes to aftermarket activity, something that was not lost on the Department of Transport’s Sizwe Ndlovu who oversaw the specification aspects of the tender.”