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Hyundai on the Canaries (Blog Post Re-Visited)

I have visited the Canary Island of Fuerteventura on many occasions since my first visit in 2003, during these visits I had witnessed a lot of construction work going on especially on major infrastructure jobs like the up-grading to dual carriageway status of the main road from the airport in Puerto del Rosario down to Morro Jable in the south of the island and numerous business park and hotel developments, where there was always plenty of heavy machinery to see working on these jobs as I was transferred to my holiday hotel.

However following the disastrous collapse of the Spanish economy in 2007 a vast majority of construction projects on the Spanish mainland and on the Spanish owned Canary Islands came to a juddering halt, with many jobs being mothballed due to lack of financial support. The economic crisis has had a knock on effect for plant and machinery dealers too and has led them to diversify into supplying spare parts, offering maintenance to keep older kit going and the export game.

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One such company is Intertrac who are the main Hyundai dealership for the Canary Islands, operating from their headquarters in Tenerife, the largest of the seven islands that make up the Canaries. The business is headed by Sales Manager Juan Luis Lorenzo Rodriguez, who is assisted by a Parts and Service Manager Juan Luis Lorenzo Hernandez, they also employ 3 service staff, 2 welders and an administration accountant. The company are also dealers for Telsmith (crushing and screening equipment) Schwing (concrete pumps) Fiori (self-loading concrete mixers) Soosan (hydraulic breakers and rock drills) and Benninghoven (asphalt plants) but it has been the Hyundai products which have proven to be the most successful products in the company’s portfolio.

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The company took on the Hyundai dealership in 1997 and had a lot of success with the brand which has proven to be very popular with the Canary Island’s groundwork contractors. It is estimated that nearly 300 Hyundai units have been delivered into the Canary Islands market since Intertrac took on the dealership, however due to the crash there have been no sales of new equipment since 2008. Mr Rodriguez estimates that of the 300 machines sold across the seven islands there are probably less than 30 working on a daily basis, with many of them simply parked up waiting for the work to pick up again.

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Some of the most popular selling models have been the wheeled excavators including the R170W-3 and R170W-7 and 7A, but Dash 7 tracked excavators are also popular on the Canaries with customers describing them as strong, reliable, affordable and an excellent return on their investment. One customer who has been delighted with his Hyundai purchase is Mr Ignacio Gordillo Padron, who is a former mayor of his town and the owner of Fuerteventura based Transportes Y Excavaciones Ruolivesa SL. Mr Padron has been involved in the construction industry on the islands for more than 45 years and is well known as an expert in his field, this current business venture celebrated a 25 year milestone this year and even though times are tough at the moment his Hyundai R210NLC-7 is still used around 3-4 days a week.

The machine which was purchased new from Intertrac has amassed 5,851 hours on the meter has proven to be a good reliable piece of kit and according to Mr Padron is as tough and rugged as any other make he has tried in the past. There can be no denying the environment on the Canary Islands can be harsh for machinery and men, with year round temperatures ranging from 26o – 30oC+, the dust and often hard digging in the volcanic rock can take its toll on any brand of machine, but the Hyundai’s have taken it all in their stride. Earthmovers caught up with the R210NLC-7 on a site close to the town of Puerto Del Rosario, where it was working on a reduce dig operation with the spoil being loaded onto one of the company’s Mercedes tippers. Inland away from the coast it was an incredibly hot day and the dust was flying as the machine was loading The sweat was pumping from my head and I would have given anything to be sat in the machine with the benefit of the air conditioning that is a standard and much appreciated feature on all Hyundai machines especially in the hot climate of the Canaries.

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The machine is powered by the well proven 6 cylinder Cummins B5.9-C engine which has a power out rating of 145hp/107kw@1950rpm and tips the scales at 22,000kgs. This model is fitted with Hyundai’s heavy duty undercarriage hence the NLC-7 branding and is fitted with stronger narrow track pads which are ideal for working on the rock often encountered on the island. The machine also had a direct mounted large digging bucket which is not an uncommon set up over there in fact it’s not often that you see hydraulic quick hitches on machines in the Canaries.

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The machines operator Mr Lucas Padilla had nothing but praise for his mount, describing it as one of the best machines he has ever operated, talking via an interpreter Lucas said, “I love this machine, it has lots of power, it’s very fast to operate and the hydraulics are so smooth which makes my job so much easier, we also find it to be very economical in terms of fuel consumption, the cab interior is fantastic for me with everything I need close to hand, it’s just a great all round excavator!”

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Owner Mr Padron added, “We like the fact that the Hyundai machines all use the well proven components that we know are some of the best in the business, it gives us peace of mind at the end of the day”

Left to right Lucas Padilla Op, Juan Luis Lorenzo Rodriguez Intertrac, Ignacio Gordillo Padron Owner

Above Left to right: Lucas Padilla Operator, Juan Luis Lorenzo Rodriguez Intertrac, Ignacio Gordillo Padron Owner.

Although the excavator’s paintwork has faded due to the persistent glare of the Canarian sunshine its Cummins engine sounded sweet as a nut and the machine is in excellent order mechanically.

Intertrac’s Mr Rodriguez is hopeful that next year we will see an upturn in the Spanish economy and we may even see the first new Hyundai machines being sold into the market for a very long time. Tourism is the life blood of the islands and with the current climate of terrorism blighting many destinations a lot of fellow British tourist’s I spoke to had returned to the popular islands to feel safer on holiday, this can only be a good thing for the area and ultimately the construction companies that are based there.

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