Skip to main content

Feature Article

Fuso Fighter - Tutill & Sons

John Tutill, managing director of Auckland metropolitan carriers Tutill & Sons, discusses the benefits of running Fuso Fighters in his fleet – naming range, reliability, comfort and automatic transmission as key considerations.

John Tutill, owner:

John Tutill, fourth generation here. Two boys working in the business, they’re the fifth generation.

I arrived at Tutill Carriers from school, 16. 30 years later… still here! We started in 1921. My great grandad, he decided he’d get a small truck and initially he started off moving tea chests and people’s goods off the wharf; developed from there. Auckland got bigger, we got a bit bigger with it.

In the sixties, we probably had ten, 15 trucks. That’s when my dad started in the business in 1960, my uncle in ’64 and they were just hands-on operators.

In my time we’ve sort of increased, if truck numbers is what you’ve got to go on. We’re up to sort of 40, 45 now – probably about all I can cope with around Auckland. My two boys – it’ll be their decision what they want to do with it after I’ve decided to slow down.

Really, since 1921 when we started, we’ve been Auckland metropolitan carriers. We’ve got about 25 curtain siders in different shapes or forms.

No trailers, so we go from 10-pallet spot curtain siders right up to 16, 18-pallet spot curtain siders; 14, 15 tonne. Ten crane trucks on the road that can lift anything from this small, from one or two tonne right up to five tonne, another three or four flat tops to back them up.       

Fusos, they’re just a good, reliable truck. I don’t get to drive them, we just buy them and they live 10,12,14 years and we buy some more.

They are a good truck. We pretty much buy them all automatics now. We’d have 20 autos out of 45 trucks and more and more coming.

The Fuso autos – we have 11,000kg and 12,000kg four-wheelers, we have one six-wheeler in Allison auto shape and form.

The Allison auto is another step up, it’s a bit smoother – a bit nicer again, so that’s the way we’re going. The automatics for us – I think we’ve got a staff of ‘Dad’s Army’, the older guys – once they’ve been in an automatic for a couple of days, you don’t get them back out of it!

They want to stay in it, it’s nice and easy. The young guys like them because they fly faster than the manual and I’m not having guys taking off in third gear or the wrong gear or doing dumb stuff. I’m making their life a little bit easier and maybe I keep them a little bit longer and keep them a little bit happier.

Ryan Sullivan, driver:

It helps a lot with your fatigue levels I reckon in trucks, because you’re not constantly worrying about which gear to be in, what kind of weights you have on board compared to how you’re going to take off.

When you have loads on in a manual truck, you’re really focused on getting into the low gears to get up on hills, where these you just have to focus on the road.

The layout of the trucks are awesome, I find – nothing is too much of a stretch from your reach, getting in and out is a cinch. They’re not too high, but they’re not awkwardly low to get in and out of or use.

All the handles and bars seem to be well placed and well thought out. That way you’re not ever reaching for a handle that’s not there. The seats are great, they’re always constantly adjusting to the situation and your weight. Pretty much the best thing about the autos is you just jump in and go with them.

John Tutill, owner:

They are a good, modern cab. I do hear that the new ones have got jacks for this and air-conditioning for that, so I don’t have any problems with anyone in the newer gear and especially the autos, everyone loves them.

So we’ll continue to buy them – it’s easy, they work, into them.