Hino, Japan’s leading truck and bus manufacturer, has aggressive plans to grow its global sales volumes from the 113 000 units sold in financial year 2010/2011 to 196 000 units in financial year 2014/2015 – a 73% increase.
Sales in the 2011/2012 financial year amounted to 128 466 units, which was a record, while sales outside Japan of 91 551 units was also the highest ever achieved. The target for the 2012/2013 financial year is 153 000 units.
The global market for trucks with a GVM of 3,5-tons and over, which stood at 6,73-m in the boom year of 2007 surpassed this total last year, with sales of 7,1-m units, and this total is expected to grow to 8,5-m units in 2015.
This was revealed by the president of Hino Motors Ltd., Yoshio Shirai, in a presentation when the company announced its 2011/12 financial results.
China and Russia are seen as major growth areas for Hino, while plans are being put in place to grow markets In the Middle East, Africa and Latin America – with the latter continent slated to become a “foundation market” in the future, as is the case for Hino already with the truck and bus markets in Japan, Australia, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. There will also be a continuation of developing niche models for the North American markets.
This ambitious plan will require Hino’s business structure to be reformed in all its divisions – development, production and sales.
In terms of development this will involve more use of modularisation in the design of new models, together with product adaptations to suit specific markets. Production will also incorporate modularisation for fabrication and assembly, together with a reduction in lead times with the introduction of new products.
Sales changes will focus on ensuring products have the appropriate specifications for the markets where they are being sold and the applications for which they will be used. Enhancing the Hino support systems for all parties involved is also high on the priority list, with particular focus on providing lower cost replacement and service parts.
There will be a strong move to increase production outside Japan – particularly in Thailand and Indonesia, which are seen as core production centres – and also assembling trucks near their markets to save in distribution costs and to speed up delivery times.
A new plant is being built in Kuga, Japan, with the first section, which is almost complete, providing knocked down kits for assembly outside Japan. The Nitta plant, which supplies engines, gearboxes and other components is also being expanded.
The planned 73% increase in sales will require Japanese production to rise 40%, with output in Thailand scheduled to increase by 150% and a boost of 70% in Indonesian output. In the latter two countries the production increases will involve both complete vehicles and engines. Localisation will be a major focus area in these two countries, with a target as high as 70% in certain instances.
Besides all these plans to grow sales and production capacity is a powerful drive to develop new technologies, especially in terms of those that are environmental friendly.
Here Hino is working on a wide variety of solutions from diesel/electric hybrids to pure electric vehicles and those powered by fuel cells. In addition progress continues to be made in using alternative fuels such as gas and biofuel.
Diesel/electric hybrid Hino trucks and buses have been operating for years already and in March this year a number of pure electric buses started regular operations in two Japanese cities.
Hino Motors had a comparatively conservative approach to growing sales outside Japan in the past and relatively few, selected export markets it had served for years. Now the increased sales planned for the next few years is changing all that and a major growth and revitalisation programme is underway.