Hino South Africa want to sell more trucks

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Casper Kruger

Hino SA, not only had a very satisfactory year as regards sales in 2012, but it is now looking to increase its volume in the local market by 10% in 2013. Last year was the best ever for the Hino brand in SA with 3 295 units sold, while adding in sales of the 1,5-ton Toyota Dyna 4-093 lifts the overall total of trucks sold to 3 631 units for the year. The target for 2013 is to do even better than last year.

“We are happy with our performance in 2012 as we not only retained our second position behind Mercedes-Benz in the total truck and bus market, with a share of 13,1%, but also continued to dominate the medium segment, with the introduction of our new Hino 300 Series range giving us strong sales impetus,” explained the vice president of Hino SA, Dr. Casper Kruger.

“This was our best year-on-year performance since the global economic downturn hit in 2009. We have been able to improve our sales each year since then and in 2012 we had volume growth of 7.1% which improved our share of the total market by 0,4% compared to 2011.

Hino South Africa

“We not only increased our sales volume in the overall truck and bus market, but also in each segment, going up by 7,7% in mediums, 6% in heavies and 7,2% in extra-hevies.

“We are particularly proud of the way we managed our run-out of the previous Hino 300 Series and the run-in of the new line-up which included additions to the model range in response to customer requests. The Hino and Dyna have now been market leaders in the medium segment for 32 years, since 1980.

“We did, however, have some backlog during the year, especially in the first six months, in terms of meeting demand as Hino’s own production and that of its component suppliers were still recovering from the effects of the natural disasters that hit Japan and Thailand in 2011,” added Dr. Kruger.

The Hino SA senior executive said that the strong Japanese yen had put pressure on pricing in the ultra-competitive local market, but this situation was now improving as the yen weakened against the dollar.

The much improved specification of the latest Hino 300 Series, which includes standard air-conditioning, driver and passenger airbags, ABS brakes and electric windows, has been welcomed by customers as driver comfort is seen as an increasingly important factor in improving productivity and contributing to road safety with an alert driver.

The additional models, being the option of a 6-speed automatic transmission for the 815 LWB freight carrier and crew cab and the 7-seater crew cab itself, have been well accepted as niche fillers. The latter model has been welcomed by especially the mining industry.

Dr. Kruger said his team was very pleased to have retained its No. 1 position as supplier to the cash-in-transit industry, particularly G4S, Coin and Fidelity where the Hino 300 is the vehicle of choice.

Another growing application for the Hino 300 Series is in the bus market, where a big push will be made this year in a joint venture with Busmark. The newly-designed buses will have increased seating capacity compared to the predecessors.

The Hino executive added that the response to the four-wheel drive Hino 500 Series had also been positive, with some good orders of these models for use in special applications. A 16-ton GVM tipper, based on the popular 1626 model, will be added to the 500 Series range at mid-year.

“We will then introduce some additional variants in the 500 and 700 Series line-ups at the Johannesburg Truck & Bus Show in October to further improve our competitive situation,” said Dr. Kruger.

Hino SA put a great deal of focus on its customer services and dealer network last year, with the aim of improving all aspects of service levels and cutting turnaround time for services and repairs. The latter project includes a hotline so Hino’s senior management is kept informed on an ongoing basis of problems that are keeping trucks off the road, be they parts supply or technical issues.

A 24/7 call centre was also introduced, while extended service intervals have made a positive contribution to cutting operating costs and downtime.

Three new dealerships opened their doors in 2012, being Hino Buffalo in East London, Hino Vryheid in Vryheid and Hino Okahandja in Namibia. This year a number of dealerships are to be upgraded and there will also be significant investments in Greenfield facilities.

In addition, the first 2S (service and parts) Hino dealerships have been established to increase the service footprint on major transport routes. These are located in Groblersdal, White River, Ermelo, Maun and Makhado (Louis Trichardt), while Barloworld Centurion is currently setting up a 2S facility to cater for its major customer Protea Coin Security.

Looking to 2013 on the sales front Dr. Kruger says he expects a similar market to last year, with total sales for trucks and buses of around 28 000 units, with fairly strong medium and heavy truck sales and concern about the extra-heavy truck segment, where there is now some excess capacity with the commissioning of the Durban-Johannesburg pipeline and a move by Transnet to increase its share of the freight market.

“In fact, a 28 000 unit market is largely dependent on the extra heavy market not losing momentum,” added Dr. Kruger. “However, we still expect a good year for Hino, as mentioned previously, with the target of increasing sales of our products in a year we know is going to be tough,” concluded the Hino vice president.

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