Kurbads “The safest company car fleet” for the sixth year in a row

At the end of 2021, the competition “The safest company car fleet 2021” of the insurance company BALTA and the Ministry of Transport gathered for the ninth time (this time remotely) with the representatives of the most efficient and responsible car fleets to jointly evaluate their practices, receiving an expert assessment of the fleet.

The organizers of the competition are extremely happy and proud that the number of competitors is consistently growing from year to year, and every year you can see both long-term participants who can set an example in terms of fleet organization and level of responsibility, and new competitors seeking an independent perspective on their fleet, expert advice and new ideas for improvement.

The topic of the 2021 competition was chosen to be a very painful issue that directly or indirectly affects every inhabitant of Latvia and is also very apt to describe the management of the company’s fleet – these are road traffic accidents, their prevention and management. Unfortunately, despite twenty years of progress, it is still more dangerous to drive on Latvian roads than in other European Union member states. However, the organizers of the competition “The safest company fleet” also see a positive trend – the companies encountered in the competition are aware of this issue and are ready to add value in reducing the “dark” statistics.

The performance of the contestants is improving year by year. The evaluation process showed that the level of additional safety equipment for newer vehicles in company fleets is increasing. Of course, special mention should be made of those companies that pay more attention to sustainability issues and ensure that not only the car fleet but also the way of thinking of employees becomes greener.

This year, a total of 29 company, state and municipal car fleets have been awarded, which, by actively and responsibly participating in the improvement of road safety, are best able to balance all road safety components in their daily operations – Car, Business, People.

With the help of the competition, the organizers want to create a group of like-minded people in the transport sector who meet at least once a year with a common goal: to share knowledge and good practice, making Latvian roads safer and the working environment in the transport sector more pleasant and engaging.

 

“The award is an additional guarantee that we know how to maintain the quality of our work. We can provide the customer with the highest level of service, directly observing all the nuances of safe fleet management. It all starts with the employee – our core value. The training process for safe and successful freight transport is what lays the foundations for everything else involved.

Everything continues with the technical provision of the fleet – we keep track of how quickly and qualitatively we maintain it. Dynamics are one thing, but they must be sound, adequate, without missing important elements. It is clear that the company’s response and the developed policy regarding accidents, their supervision and management also play an important role. Each of the managers of our company’s departments is involved in this process and makes their unique contribution to improving it (a manual has been developed, additional rules, the flow of information on various changes related to covid, etc.).

As well as the fact that we have retained this rating of gold, it is an honour. It allows us to understand that it is important not only to reach this gold standard but rather to maintain the achieved level,” notes Sintija Bērziņa, Head of Human Resources at Kurbads.

 

Ivars Čiblis, Kurbads truck service manager: “The fact that Kurbads won this award means that we are constantly thinking about both technical and procedural issues in fleet management. This means that everything is done to make both the driver and those around them feel safe on the road. A system has been set up to monitor this at all times. It allows us to analyze ourselves in comparison to others. We are also on the lookout for what good practices can be learned from others and what can be improved. We were also able to get a valuable perspective from the jury. And we received recommendations of what could be improved.

This year, there was a strong focus on ecological and environmental issues, and for the first time in the competition, a concept such as the sustainability of the company was introduced, which lately is thought of more frequently in the Kurbads and Ko group of companies.”

 

In conclusion, we proudly quote the jury’s comment: “Congratulations on your well-deserved gold medal in the competition, showing a great result — one that serves as a model for the entire category of international hauliers! Not in vain — when the members of the jury were asked to highlight the things that Kurbads does better than others, our answer was concise — “All of them!”

We would like to extend our gratitude to insurance company BALTA and the Ministry of Transport! Kurbads will continue to make improvements to promote a greener and safer future and will continue to encourage others to follow suit.

The best driver at Kurbads – Māris Laberevics

Māris from his very first days in the organization surprised with his workability and work ethic. Māris is a person who learns new things quickly, which was also visible when he started the training process and started driving by himself in Kurbads. Qualities that characterize.

Māris – accuracy, balance, and confidence. These things also directly reflect in the daily work, without rushing work, doing everything thoughtfully and with confidence. These qualities are especially assessed in the logistics department – Māris clearly understands the task and performs it with high precision without unnecessary questions.

Outside of work, colleagues have noticed that Māris enjoys traveling, discovering unfamiliar countries and cultures. This is another side of Māris – a personality who is able not only to perform his job perfectly but also to take time for quality rest.

Māris, do not stop at what you have achieved, strive for new peaks and new destinations in the world!

The best employee of Kurbads – Sintija Bērziņa.

Sintija sets a great example to her colleagues with her work ethic and culture, motivating others, especially over the past year, which has been challenging. To describe Sintija in one word — loyalty. This characteristic is reflected daily both at work and outside it. She is always ready to help and dedicate her free time.

At Kurbads, Sintija organizes and manages staff resources and communicates with drivers and the rest of the staff, finding an individual approach for everyone.

Sintija, we wish you to continue what you have started, keep taking care of your colleagues, and may you achieve many more goals!

 

The best employee of the Kurbads truck service in 2021 – Andris Rasmanis

As part of the Kurbads team, Andris has won several awards, including “Kurbads Best Employee of 2013”. It shows his determination and enthusiasm, proving himself over the years. As colleagues say – always in shape!

Motorcycles are also a close topic in the Kurbads organization, which is an exciting hobby for some colleagues. And Andris is one of those who likes to spend his free time on the back of a motorcycle – disturbing the forest trails. This energy and enthusiasm are also reflected in the daily work, which is appreciated by other colleagues.

Andri, we wish you to maintain a cheerful attitude and determination, passing it on to others through yourself

The best employee of Kurbads PDI and household department in 2021 – Aivars Laimiņš.

Aivars has been working in the organization for the first year and has convincingly applied himself – both with responsibility for work and responsibility with colleagues. Cheerful and purposeful – these are the things that characterize Aivars. Always smiling, which creates a smile in other colleagues as well. Both in work and everyday life – Aivars has a desire to be useful and help others.

We wish Aivars to keep the vigor and purposefulness of his life, to always strive for the next peaks!

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Datsun 280ZX – Japans classic car for America

This time, the Datsun 280ZX from Japan. The nation’s sports car of the 70’s-80’s has entered the Historic Car Carriage Collection of “Kurbads” Ltd. Distinctive, timeless design, an in-line six-cylinder engine, classic drivetrain and an acknowledged durability have made the Datsun 280ZX a popular young-timer, with a good chance of becoming a true classic – if it has not already happened.

Main destination – USA

This car belongs to the second generation of the S130 model, of seven so-called Nissan Z models – if you include the latest Z edition. The Z saga began in the 1960’s. While Japanese motorcycle manufacturers were transforming the motorcycling industry with inexpensive and durable rides, Datsun decided to do the same in the sports car market. The first Datsun 240Z, known in the Japanese market as the Nissan Fairlady Z, came out in 1969. The Datsun became Nissans export label, as the Nissan brand was not, yet, fully recognised in the USA, which had become the Z’s main market.

 

 

A motor for the supercar

The development of the original Datsun 240Z, was highlighted by an indirect link to another rare and expensive Japanese sports car of the time, the Toyota 2000GT. To save costs, the Nissan sports car project was in the early stage created in collaboration with the motorcycle manufacturer Yamaha. Over time, Nissan became convinced that the 2-litre DOHC engine developed by Yamaha was too weak and abandoned the project. Yamaha completed the prototype alone and offered it to the world’s most conservative car manufacturer. Due to a coincidence of circumstances, the Toyota management agreed to build the halo car, and the 2000GT became the world’s first Japanese supercar and later a collector’s jewel.

 

 

Exciting and reliable

Let us get back to our Z car. The first generation Datsun Z had done its job – it had attracted attention, it had earned a reputation as a reliable sports car that was accessible to the masses. The Datsun 240Z and 260Z were relatively inexpensive, even the 280Z of the mid-1970’s (initially sold only in America) with its 2.8-litre 170bhp engine was far more affordable in the US, even compared to some European and domestic vehicles. The Z models extensive dealer network boosted the popularity of Nissan, compared to a limited number of Jaguar, BMW, also Porsche and Alfa Romeo import cars, which could only be maintained and repaired by a handful of niche specialist workshops. Nissan management’s original objective of using as many standardised parts as possible did also pay off. However, Nissan saw that its competition and consumer fashion were changing. In the mid to late 70’s, buyers became increasingly demanding in terms of comfort and equipment. The modesty and technological purity of the 60’s vehicles interested young customers less, than, for example, the latest model cars with included radios.

 

 

Goodbye Datsun, hello Nissan!

The shift in public interest had a devastating effect on the design of the Z car. The new 280ZX kept only the engine and five-speed gearbox from the original 280Z. By replacing the unique rear suspension with a much simpler one, taken from the luxury sedan Datsun 810, the car resulted with a significantly softer coupe and understeer. Nissan created other improvements, by including a more modern steering gear, which was in the beginning fitted only to the top turbocharged model, later introduced on all versions in the early 1980s. The car benefited with seats that are more comfortable, denser sound insulation, a high-quality stereo and bumpers integrated into the bodywork. Visually the first generation distinguishes from the second with a simple feature: from 1978, the Datsun Z no longer had a radiator grille, only an air gap just above the front bumper. If you place the two generations side by side, the second appears taller. Its rear end, reshaped by the engineers, was to accommodate the 80-litre fuel tank. The 280ZX was the first Datsun model, alongside trucks of the same brand, to carry the tiny “by Nissan” badge in the US, marking the gradual decline of the Datsun brand. In America, the model became incredibly popular. Motor Trend magazine even named it the best import car of 1979.

 

 

Renewed in Latvia

The 1981 Datsun 280ZX transported by “Kurbads” Ltd. has changed owners several times; this model was originally imported from the Netherlands. The supposedly restored car was in a poor condition at the time, with rust holes in the floor and arches, badly damaged interior and loose machinery. In the hands of RetroFuture, the Datsun got re-welded and repainted, and the interior has been fully re-sewn. The engine received a new exhaust system and a proper tune-up. This 280ZX comes from an era when the 2.8-litre engine’s power was again slightly up-boosted to 145hp.  The car also features the so-called I-top, a peculiar Targa top type roof structure with removable sections, which appeared in 1980 and annoyed fans of the original Z, but amplified the model’s popularity in America.

 

 

The first generation Datsun Z is a relatively affordable and an easy to maintain car, produced in huge numbers at the time. A running vehicle in Europe costs between €15,000 and €25,000, depending on the trim and condition, models that need restauration and export cars from the USA are considerably cheaper.

Lack of chips in the auto industry worldwide

 

We are all well aware that the pandemic caused by the Covid-19 virus has left significant marks on public health and the economy. It has done a huge impact on the automobile sector as well. The pandemic’s impacts resulted in a shortage of semiconductors at component facilities, which has affected the manufacturing of vehicles in factories around the globe. As a result, new automobile deliveries to consumers have been delayed.

We cannot imagine today’s world without microchips which are used for electronic devices we use every day. These small components are very important in car manufacturing, in particular for electric vehicles. Paradoxically but it seems that the largest global vehicle crisis has been produced by one of the tiniest components.

One of the European automakers, recently reported that the production of new vehicles at two local facilities will be stoped for at least a week because of a shortage of chips. Thousands of unfinished automobiles are kept in automotive facilities, waiting for the delivery of vital components. It will make a huge impact on the economy if they will not be ready because vehicle production is the main heater of the economy there. This will influence the logistics industry, particularly for the transport of cars throughout Europe.

We also asked Tom Hartman, the head of the logistics department of SIA “Kurbads un KO”, for an opinion: Logistics volumes for new cars have fallen sharply. Manufacturers are creatively trying to get out of the situation with different solutions. Car transporting companies, including us, also need to think of alternative solutions, such as subordinating logistics to the needs of used cars. Now benefits those who have their own direct contracts so they are able to avoid downtime and even more far-reaching risks.

Japan automakers have also announced that it is experiencing a semiconductor shortage and has had to temporarily suspend production at its facility. Not only Europe but also the United States is experiencing a crisis. Due to a shortage of chips, General Motors was forced to temporarily suspend production at most of its North American facilities last month. A global shortage of semiconductor chips around the world has affected major car manufactures, including Ford Motor Co, Honda Motors, and the European automakers by limiting or even stopping car production. The CEO of Daimler also acknowledged the crisis and admitted that the lack of semiconductors and supply issues most likely will continue also next year.

Kurbads celebrates its 26th anniversary with the 105th car transporter trailer

At the end of the summer, vehicle transportation and logistics company “Kurbads” enjoyed several noteworthy moments. As promised before, “Kurbads” continued to flex its muscles and added another car transporter trailer to its fleet. Its christening coincided with the company’s 26th anniversary. So in a sense, the 105th car transporter trailer was a gift to ourselves. The fourth car transporter trailer that we bought this year is adorned with the image of the Morning Star or Auseklis – who is a Baltic god, as well as a well-known Latvian ornament.

Oļegs Dovgans will be the 105th car transporter trailer’s driver-expeditor. He is well acquainted with the ornament of the Morning Star, because the 96th car transporter trailer also bore the same image. According to Latvian traditions and myths this ornament represents several things. It represents the victory of light over darkness, and protects one from evil people. Whatever the strongest and best features of this ornament, Oļegs has remained faithful, once again choosing to have the same ornament on the side of the new trailer.

Energy exchange and true emotions are greatly valued at Kurbads

Just as on other occasions, the new 105th car transporter trailer was christened with the bear dance as delivered by the men of Kurbads. And to celebrate our anniversary, as well as the purchase of the new trailer, we enjoyed another ritual – an activity that required the participation of all employees. Initially we formed a circle with the leader of the activity taking the centre stage. He chose colleagues who then had to follow him at the back. However, to join all the other participants, the newcomer had to crawl between other player’s legs. The activity came to an end only after all chosen participants had joined the chain of people, and had crawled through the hurdles.

However, that was not the end of all the fun. Right after the christening of the 105th car transporter trailer we all joined in the celebration of the big day, which was the celebration of the 26th anniversary. We have to say that it felt like the Morning Star was with us on that day, because we enjoyed a beautiful warm sunny day all day long. The temperature was so warm it felt like summer had returned once again, and we could all celebrate together and enjoy the Indian summer.

Beauty in simplicity

During the anniversary celebrations, we enjoyed Zane’s and her husband’s pancake masterclass. They both made sure that every single employee of Kurbads got the tasty and fluffy crepes prepared on an open fire. Background music was provided by accordion player Inta Āboliņa to help us all feel that special something. As we slowly sipped on wine, we enjoyed being together and celebrating the 26th anniversary of Kurbads.

Sonett III – Saab’s plastic gift to the Americans

In collaboration with Normunds Avotiņš, Kurbads continues its series on exclusive, collection sports and vintage cars. This time Kurbads transported SAAB Sonett III.

Related Articles:

Transportation of exclusive, sports and vintage cars

 

Saab Automobile AB or simply Saab, will forever remain in our memory as a manufacturer of innovative, unusual and beautiful cars. Saab once produced many a prototype to cover new markets, but the Sonett will always hold a special place in the Swedish company’s biography. Its athletic, spirited silhouette differs sharply from other Saab products, and of course a few reservations aside, it looks rather fashionable even today. There is however, no shortage of reservations – as a typical Swedish car, and even more so as Saab, Sonett has a front wheel, rather than a rear wheel drive, and it has a glass-covered hatch covering the hood, and the lifting lamps can be pushed out by pulling a mechanical crank.

 

SAAB sonett lights

 

Forget about Shakespeare!

The name of Saab Sonett is as strange as the car itself. Forget about poetry and Shakespeare’s sonnets – the name of the car is derived from the Swedish phrase “Så nätt den är” or “how pretty it is”; or rather “it’s pretty”. The first Sonett was more than pretty – it was phenomenal! In the 50s, a couple of enthusiasts built a prototype of a lightweight racing stalwart in a barn near the Saab plant in Trollhättan, with a glass-fibre superstructure, a flood line borrowed from aviation and a three-cylinder two-stroke engine. Despite its modest capacity (around 59 hp) and the small budget (75,000 kronor), the 600 kg heavy turret was able to reach a speed of 190 km/h. Sonett I was expected to have a bright future in motorsports. But suddenly technical regulations changed, and between 1955 and 1957, only six roadsters were constructed instead of the planned 2000. The first Sonett is an extremely rare car these days.

 

I’d like to change 3 cylinders to V4

It is entirely possible that Sonett’s story would have been over if in the early 60s two men – Björn Karlström, an automobile and airplane illustrator and Walter Kern, an engineer from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology had not independently proposed creating a two-seat Saab roadster with the components of the existing model. One prototype was selected from the two original prototypes, and the production of Sonett II began in small lots in 1966. In fact, very small because when the first 258 cars were made, it was clear that the 841-cubic-inch two-stroke engine was no longer able to comply with the US waste gas requirements. But Sonett’s main market was the US, where every single European car manufacturer who was able to produce a small sports car was trying to break-in in the middle of the last century. British companies had more success across the ocean, so the product of a Swedish company seemed exotic enough. because it had not been invented, say, by Austin Healey.

 

SAAB Sonett -  Kurbads

 

Although it seemed that nothing else could be squeezed in the narrow motor room of the Sonett, the solution came from Germany. The Sonett II got a 1.5-liter V4 engine from the European Ford Townes, thus becoming Sonett V4. By 1969, 1,610 such cars were released, a reputable achievement for such an extraordinary car. As strange as it may seem, one of the cornerstones of Sonett V4’s success was passenger safety. The small roadster had three-point seatbelts, high back-boosters with an anti-impact function, a safety lock, and a few other features. Even according to all technical aspects, Sonett V4 had a modern construction. The car had a clutch of an unusual design that automatically disconnected as soon as the gas pedal was released. In that sense it resembles the most modern car coasting function today.

 

…excuse us for those bumpers…

The modernization of Sonett was scheduled for 1970, and in 1973 the end result was a green Italian car with ugly bumpers. This was by no means a failure on part of the designers, but rather the result of the requirement changes in the US in 1972. The requirement to equip cars with protruding bumpers that would provide additional protection during collision at low speeds damaged the appearance of many a handsome European car. However, the bumpers could not damage the Sonett itself. To please the tastes of young Americans, the gearbox lever was moved from the steering column to the floor, and for the first time the Sonett had an air conditioner installed. To reduce production costs, the elegantly curved rear glass window was replaced with a simpler one, yet the most bizarre optimization was done to the hood. Because the designers wanted to get rid of the bulb on the hood that was the landmark of the previous Sonett, it was downgraded to a plastic hatch. Consequently, in the event of a more serious engine repair, the entire front of the car had to be dismantled. The typical, tarring sound of the V4 engine until this day highlights Sonett among similar light-weight sports cars of those years.

 

SAAB Sonett

 

The End

It is unclear how Sonett’s career would have developed further had it not been for the 1973 oil crisis. In the final three or four years, Saab equipped the roadster with an increased capacity 1.7-liter V4 engine. The vehicle transported by Kurbads has the same engine, however this vehicle is special for another reason. Unlike most Sonetts released in its final days, this one still has wooden, not vinyl windowsills. At one point, even Sonett’s dashboard was made of wood.

SAAB Sonett

Due to emissions, engine power did not change. 65 hp allow the 880 kg heavy-duty vehicle to reach a maximum speed of 165 km/h and to accelerate to 100 km/h within 13 seconds. If the power was higher, the Sonett would likely become more difficult to manage. Between 1970 and 1974, 8,368 Sonetts III were produced, and of those nearly 2,500 landed in the US. According to the VIN plate, this particular car was also an “export model”. While interest in Sonett III has grown in recent years, this particular Saab has not drawn the attention of collectors and enthusiasts, so it is relatively cheap. A car that is in excellent condition can be acquired for €25,000, while the raw materials for restoration can cost up to five times less than that. Due to the coincidence of circumstances and the “incorrect” gearing, Sonett III has not become a coveted classic. But its peculiar design by Sergio Coggiola (ex-Ghia), as well as the exotic V4 engine and a non-ferocious bodywork could someday boost the value of the small brave Saab.