A Bit Like Biltong, But Harder To Chew


Local is lekker. That’s the message from Mark Gutridge of BRiNK Towing Systems South Africa.

The reference is not only to the tens of thousands of BRiNK tow bars which have shipped – and continue to be shipped – from the BRiNK factory in Pietermaritzburg, but it also alludes to what is expected to be the next trend when it comes to recreational travel.

“Six months ago if you had asked me what we should be focussing on as a Tier One supplier to the South African motor industry I would’ve said we simply need to be keeping up with volume demand and quality levels from OEM customers like Toyota and Ford. But now there’s a new, additional focus,” explains Gutridge.

“We think the travel landscape is going to change and there’s going be a resurgence of motorized travel, and a new-found desire to explore our beautiful sub-continent on wheels. We’re expecting caravans, camping trailers, campervans, and the like to be wheeled out, have the tires pumped, and be put into service.

“But there’s more to it than that and there are legal and practical considerations to consider. Not all driving licenses are created equal and most are only sufficient for a driver to tow a light trailer and not a caravan. There’s also maintenance to consider, and like anything, merely standing idle does a trailer or caravan no good at all.”

Gutridge also says, however, that safe towing is hugely dependent on the quality of the tow bar and the integrity of its partnership with the vehicle. This includes not only using approved mounting points (as dictated by the vehicle manufacturer) but also wiring the connection to ensure that not only the lights work correctly but also that systems such as stability control and even engine cooling are able to detect the presence of a trailer. Finally, the set-up of the trailer vis-á-vis the towing vehicle is critical – with a “nose up” attitude any trailer can be dangerously unstable.

“The swing to “DIY” holidays suggests a return to more fundamental values: it has put us – hopefully not just temporarily – back in touch with some of our core values. Themes like family and environmental awareness seem to be closer to the front of the mind than before lockdown. These values are close to BRiNK as a brand.

“Through our dealer and installation network, we have access to tow bars to more than 95 percent of the cars on South Africa’s roads, even the less common brands, which are no longer formally represented here. Importantly, everything we supply is globally compliant and every BRiNK product has been designed and engineered in partnership with the vehicle manufacturer, and then produced in a BRiNK factory in Europe. Of course, in the case of vehicles like the Ford Ranger or Toyota Fortuner, it will be a tow bar made to the same exacting standards right here in our own proudly South African plant,” concluded Gutridge.

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