Robust steel beasts handcrafted in Bloem

The founder of Brandt BRV Stian Brandt and his wife Kimberly. PHOTO: Supplied

The love for working with his hands and a passion for cars led Stian Brandt to start a one-of-a-kind vehicle manufacturing company nestled in the industrial area of Bloemfontein.

Brandt BRV (PTY) LTD designs and manufactures tough, robust and reliable pick-up trucks that are built to handle any road conditions with great off-road capability, mostly constructed of 1.6mm steel.

The assembly of the vehicles are done by hand in their workshop. PHOTO: Gypseenia Lion

According to Brandt, his father started building cars in 2002 and he has always loved working with his hands and doing steelwork. Just after he matriculated from Jim Fouché High School in 2007, he started working in his father’s factory. Here his passion truly evolved and he wanted to build his own closed pickup truck. “In 2013, when we started Brandt BRV, my vision was to build a bakkie that’s strong and robust for South Africa, but also something you can customise for yourself,” he said.

“Each vehicle that I have built with the team has been different and unique to each client’s requirements. I wanted to build something that is unique to South Africa,” he added. One of the proudest moments for Brandt was when they got SABS approved. He said that, and the fact the he has been able to build three generations of models, and that his team built their first vehicle on their own are things he is extremely proud of. “I was able to stand back and see how the guys that I have taught are able to do it on their own,” he said.

At Brandt BRV employees are taught all sorts of skills such as welding, steelwork and spray painting. PHOTO: Gypseenia Lion

The company currently employs 41 people and hope to grow these numbers to between 80 and 90 people in 2024 as their production lines will be increasing due to the fact that they recently moved into a bigger facility. “This has been my dream since 2013. We will now be able to produce higher volumes,” said Brandt. “A car needs a facility that suits its greatness and finally having the space to build a great car is amazing,” he added.

Bloemfontein Courant visited the offices where these robust vehicles are assembled and spoke to their sales and marketing manager, Jean-Pierre Autret, who took the publication through the process.

The pick-up trucks are mostly constructed of 1.6mm steel. PHOTO: Gypseenia Lion

Autret said their vehicles range from a single cab to extended cab, from a workhorse to sports models and a safari game viewer, with all these models available in 4×2 as well as 4×4.

“The assembly line consists of pre-assembly, upholstery, wiring, and final assembly. Each vehicle is assembled by hand with top-quality products and equipment. You won’t find much plastic in our vehicles as most of the interior panels are also steel, covered in our selected material. The assembly is the most time-consuming and toughest process as everything needs to be fitted to precision by skilled hands and thoroughly tested before delivery of each vehicle,” said Autret.

The first ever Brandt BRV pickup truck designed and constructed by Stian Brandt. PHOTO: Gypseenia Lion

Brandt BRV also recently got backing from the Free State government.

“We regard BRV as a one-of-a-kind vehicle and we have agreed to come together so that we take this company from our province to a higher level. They have employed 41 people and there is a potential to employ more, so we are exploring ways of working together with them to bring this vision to life,” said the MEC for Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Thabo Meeko, on the day he met with the team.

Justine Fortuin