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High Horsepower 300 Series leads Hino charge

R-Hino: With a class leading 5.0-Litre engine and ESC standard across the range, Hino is hoping the 300 Series will charge ahead of the competition.

Hino Australia on a mission of conquest to bolster its light-truck market share


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29 May 2014

HINO is launching an assault on market leader Isuzu Trucks that it hopes will see its share of Australia’s “pretty flat” light-truck segment grow from 14 per cent to 22 per cent inside three years.

The aggressive expansion will be spearheaded by the 300 Series range, headlined by the new market-leading 151kW/600Nm 5.0-litre High Horsepower variant launched this week that is projected to account for up to 15 per cent of sales.

Furthermore, the Toyota subsidiary’s local arm is greatly increasing its advertising spend – including an overdue move into social media – expanding its range of aftersales services and growing its 41-strong dealer network, with at least two new sites on the way.

Speaking at this week’s High Horsepower 300 Series launch in New South Wales, Hino Motor Sales Australia chairman and CEO Steve Lotter said a stronger product arsenal and the imminent federal road-funding boost would stand it in good stead.

“We've got new product, we've got new people and we will have some new dealers and that's putting us in a good position to maximise our volume potential in what still is a pretty flat market,” he said.

“The segments where we compete are still down 30 per cent from the GFC. Within that market we've got to make sure the range is available and the only way we can grow our volume now is to take it from the competition and that's what we are trying to do.

“The above 500 horsepower market is re-booming but in the light, medium and lower end of heavy we are still waiting for that, but six years on from the GFC it's got to kick-in.

“The government is saying road transport is the way it's going to be and that's good for us and building roads and building airports has got to be good for trucks generally.”

Hino finished 2013 with 1732 registrations in 2013, a 12.5 per cent share of the light truck segment, and by the end of April 2014 that figure had risen to just over 14 per cent from 562 registrations.

If it reaches its target of 22 percent, Hino will be snapping at the heels of its biggest competition Isuzu, which rounded out 2013 with just over 23 per cent of the segment - a stake it has retained (YTD April 2014).

Newly-appointed brand and franchise development manager Bill Gillespie (formerly Sime Darby’s managing director for its Australian Peugeot cars franchise) explained that having a strong product was only half the battle in winning business from competitors.

“By the end of next year we will have all those pieces of the puzzle together as far as we can, but I still think there's a lot of performance left in the organisation just in us doing things a little better,” he said.

“Football teams call it the 'one-percenters'. What are all the one per cent things that if we just include would add up to a much better performance?“The internal review of our business is going on right now and we are looking at all the areas we can improve. The whole organisation is getting itself ready to be more aggressive in the marketplace.”

In addition to the new 300 Series range, Mr Gillespie said that building customer relationships through value-adding features, such as training programs, would be the way to win sales and secure future custom too.

“We think the business solution approach is a point of difference in the market,” he said.

“Home delivery service is expanding all the time and what we know about those drivers is that they are not truck drivers – they are really car licence delivery drivers. They need training how to drive a truck properly.

“With training they'll be safer, save fuel, they will look after the assets of the business better, they'll be better employees. There's a whole range of benefits and if you can offer that to a business that stamps you as something different.

“This is an end-to-end relationship, we want to live with that relationship all along and that's why we're boosting our customer care.

“Then when the customer is ready to replace the vehicle hopefully we have done enough to build that relationship to hold on to it. If you haven't then you don't deserve the business. That's the way the world is these days.”

Making the process of acquiring and maintaining vehicles simpler is another way Hino is planning to attract and broaden its customer base, and Mr Gillespie said that new 'bundles', likely to be introduced under the Hino Advantage, would make fleet-management easier.

“Our future is definitely bundling the offers together and offering a one-stop shop,” he said.

“The customer doesn't want to be making all these different choices around insurance and finance and truck and accessories. If we can come to the table and offer that, it's a big advantage. It's the Hino advantage.

“The difference will be that we actually do it because a lot of people talk about all that stuff but don't do it.

“That's the critical difference and if we can pull that off then that's success.

“We want to be able to go to businesses and say – we may not know the landscape of your business, but we get business.

“We get business, so we get your business.”

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