30 minutes with Richard Ransome, Big Country 4X4

Words by andrew middleton. pictures supplied. Words by andrew middleton. pictures supplied.

Big Country 4x4 has weathered some tough economic storms lately, but this tenacious company continues to innovate, design and deliver globallyacclaimed products for the offroad market. Recent news has it that Big Country 4x4 has joined forces with Frantel Holdings (the specialist manufacturing company and off-road-trailer builder) to further broaden their product range. We caught up with the company’s CEO, Richard Ransome, to find out more.

SA4x4: Richard, Big Country 4x4 was previously partnered with African Outback. What happened to this alliance?
Richard: I could write a book on this story, but the brief overview is that while the alliance made perfect sense from a product perspective, many problems revealed themselves in the year that followed the merger. During this time, in a bid to address these problems, the new shareholders injected about R7 million into the new business, as well as huge amounts of energy and effort. But the month-long NUMSA strike in September 2012 proved to be the final straw, forcing the directors to liquidate the business in late 2013. The decision was an extremely difficult one to make, but it was the right thing to do. Thankfully, our business has emerged infinitely stronger.

SA4x4: What would you say is the defining concept behind your brand?
Richard: Quality over quantity. We focus on highly-specialised products that are out-of-theordinary. When we manufacture something, it’s produced to the highest possible standard, using only the best materials. An example of our philosophy (quality over quantity) is that our roofracks are welded, not bolted, together. This might make them much more difficult to ship, but the customer can be assured that they’re getting the best product on the market; one that will stand the test of time in SA’s harsh conditions. Also, keeping stock is very important. We keep popular products in stock at all times so that customers don’t have to wait long periods for products to be ordered and sent.

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