Big deals at the top end of town – Words by Neil Dowling
THE multi-million-dollar contract for about 540 vehicles awarded to Mitsubishi Motors Australia Ltd (MMAL) by one of Australia’s biggest construction and building companies, WA-based BGC (Australia) Pty Ltd, represents first blood for the new Triton dual-cab ute.
The deal includes about 340 Tritons, with the remainder made up of ASX and Eclipse Cross models for sales and administration, and Outlander models for management. The contract has started with 40 Tritons delivered, and the rest rolling out over coming months.
Competing against the Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger and Holden Colorado for the contract, the Triton won after an intensive four-month on-road and analytical investigation by BGC, using algorithms including whole-of-life calculations.
BCG is based in WA and has most of its operations in that state, particularly the Pilbara. However, the company has substantial business interests in NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria, and this led to the decision-making process subsequently using four of each brand in its assessment.
It started the tender process in July last year at a time when the new Triton was still six months away from launch.
BGC group fleet manager Peter Owen told Delivery that the company was given a preview of the new Triton in August, coming in before the tender closed. Vehicles were then made available to BGC by Mitsubishi before the Australian launch of the ute.
Four examples of each ute were circulated through 40 BGC staff members around Australia, and each employee involved actively critiqued each model they drove.
BGC director Sam Buckeridge said the selection exercise took six months to complete. “We have staff participation as part of the tender process and vehicle evaluation,” he said.
“This is important because although the dollars matter, it is the staff that have to live with the vehicles. Their opinion is very important to the decision. The employee testing involved ease of use, cabin space, cargo payload, fuel economy, safety and comfort.”
According to Mr Owen: “The Triton received top rating from both the rigorous evaluation of the numbers, and the people who will drive these vehicles every day.”
The number-crunching by BGC and its fleet management partner Summit Fleet Leasing and Management then had to meet “fit for purpose” and “whole of life” parameters established by BGC and calculated for the four-year period. This included the leasing costs, the effects of the fringe benefit tax, cost of maintenance, and ownership.
Summit is owned by Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, the second-largest bank in Japan, which last year announced an alliance with the nation’s biggest bank, Mitsubishi UFG Finance Group. The alliance started with the sharing of ATMs in Tokyo.
Mitsubishi will supply the Triton dual-cab ute in different variants, though the majority will be GLX grades with the Advance Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) pack that includes autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning and automatic headlights.
In a statement, MMAL’s head of fleet, Fulvio Fattore, said the contract was a great opportunity for Mitsubishi to work with BGC and showcase the capability of the new Triton. “It validates what we believe is a great vehicle,” he said.
“BGC’s endorsement of the Triton is recognition that Mitsubishi is leading the market in fleet suitability, and especially in driver preference.”
BGC (Buckeridge Group of Companies) was started by the late Len Buckeridge in 1959 and covers residential and commercial construction, the manufacture of construction materials and building products, road transport and property management.
Mr Buckeridge’s company concept was to create an integrated supply chain that makes its own concrete, bricks and windows, and owns quarries. It has a transport fleet of about 750 vehicles, made up of 500 cars and commercials, and 250 trucks.
In Japan, the term sogo shosha means “general trading company”. Unlike typical Western trading companies and Japan’s 9000 other trading companies, the sogo shoshas are distinguished by their international networks, their trade of numerous commodities, and their large market shares.
For example, a sogo shosha may control about 10 percent of Japan’s trade, handle a range of 10,000 to 20,000 products including food, clothing, automobiles, and appliances, and have a network of more than 200 offices throughout the world.
The sogo shosha are also characterised by their ability to issue large volumes of credit and to help small manufacturers buy and sell goods in the global market. These trading companies serve as intermediaries for distribution at home and abroad for Japanese companies. The major sogo shosha include Mitsubishi, Mitsui, C. Itoh, Sumitomo, Marubeni, Nichimen, Kanematsu-Gosho, and Nisso Iwai Corp.
Mitsubishi Corporation is Japan’s largest trading company (sogo shosha) and a member of the Mitsubishi keiretsu. Mitsubishi Corporation employs more than 60,000 people and has seven business segments, including finance, banking, energy, machinery, chemicals and food.