Interview with Shereen Shabnam
TORSUS, manufacturer of the world’s toughest, heavy-duty off-road commercial vehicles continually breaks new ground by designing, developing and manufacturing the world’s toughest off-road buses.
Behind its success sits Vakhtang Dzhukashvili, founder and CEO of TORSUS who impressed the commercial vehicle sector with TERRASTORM and now the PRAETORIAN, a heavy-duty, off-road bus, a new adaptive seating option that meets international social distancing guidelines.
We were keen to speak to Vakhtang about TORSUS PRAETORIAN which is designed to transport personnel and equipment safely across the world’s harshest environments. The bus is based on an upgraded heavy-duty MAN chassis and is powered by MAN engines and drivetrain. From the Michelin off-road tyres, to the military grade coating on body parts, PRAETORIAN is engineered to take on any terrain, under any condition, anywhere in the world.
Coming from Fiji Islands which has highlands and rough terrain all over and living in the UAE where exploring the Wadis and desert roads are part of our weekend life, tough vehicles are sought for all the time and so far, some of the best models for buses, ideal for adventure tourism, camping and fun school trips are definitely from TORSUS. We find out more from Vakhtang.
How did your journey with TORSUS begin and give us an overview of the brand?
I am from an automotive business background and have been doing this for my whole professional career. One of our business directions is the manufacture and delivery of special converted vehicles for International Technical Aid Programs around the world. Being engaged in such business allowed us to find out what different clients need and expect from off-road vehicles; why clients are buying them; what problems they are facing; what problems are prominent from different clients on different continents.
With this this data we analyzed and tried to identify products that will match all requirements, needs, certifications, service capabilities, technical capabilities, and more. We couldn’t find anything that existed already to match these demands, so we decided to build what will match our needs to 100%. That was the starting point of our journey.
Which models are currently most popular?
It is hard to say. It depends heavily on the client, and the daily requirements of the client. What is more, one client – for example law enforcement – might use different TORSUS models for different tasks.
The TERRASTORM has been a real driving force in our sales efforts. It is smaller, has less license requirements for the driver and needs less experience to drive competently off road, but is still a super-capable and dependable off-roader that can take you far away.
What has been your most challenging experience in building the TORSUS brand?
Transition from prototyping into mass production. That was a challenge. If you want to make everything right, it will be a stress test for everything.
Which models of TORSUS are doing well and tell us about the models that would do well in GCC countries?
We consider these variations of the PRAETORIAN and TERRASTORM to be most popular:
- Coach and its variations (outdoor tourism, mining bus, school bus, hunter vehicle).
- Camper is our modification of the Coach, meaning that in minutes you can modify your coach into camper and grab your family for a remote weekend with everything you need (kitchen, fridge, water, batteries, bed, bikes, etc.). And when you return home you can easily return the Camper back to Coach arrangement.
- Governmental Support – mainly ambulances, evacuation, remote service offices, remote laboratories, command centers.
How has the response been to Terrastorm which I believe is one of your popular models?
- So far we are very happy with market reaction to TERRASTORM. I think that we have matched every client’s needs perfectly and we look to get a hold on this market with our vehicle.
What is your favorite part of the job at TORSUS?
Good question! I think my favorite part of the game is that every day we’re working with new information, new challenges and new solutions. This means that I get to see how our product is developing, how we improve our production and the product itself. At the same time, I like to be a salesman, to meet with our partners – with their cultures, their way of doing business – and see how our products help clients, witness our partner networks developing and how results of our hard work gives joy to everyone. A happy end user means a happy TORSUS partner, a happy TORSUS HQ and so every member of our team is happy.
Let us talk about models that are work in progress and unique selling points…
You know that these topics usually all the time is top secret! All I can I say is that our new ideas undergoing feasibility study research are also related to 4×4 and off-road. And just like every good vehicle manufacturer we are looking on electric powertrain solutions.
Tell us about the future plans of TORSUS.
We are looking at expanding partner network development, constantly striving for client satisfaction improvement and continuously improving our vehicles and production with new technologies. We’re always thinking of new ideas that resonate with our whole team.
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