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Hino expanding presence, dealer network

50 years young: Since it launched in Australia in 1965, Hino has grown in popularity, and the company has no plans to slow down.

Two new Hino dealerships coming to Sydney and Brisbane in 2017

Hino logo25 Nov 2015

HINO is continuing to expand its Australian presence and profile with a greater focus on customer satisfaction, an extension of the Hino Advantage aftersales program and new dealerships for Queensland and New South Wales by 2017.

The current dealer network extends to around 60 service centres and outlets, covering all Australian states and territories, but in 2015, Hino was the fastest growing truck brand – up 11 per cent year on year and further expansion is required to keep up.

With typically long commercial vehicle model lifecycles, Hino is not planning to introduce a new product for about 18 months and Hino Motor Sales Australia chairman and CEO Steve Lotter said that in the meantime, the company would be strengthening the company's other facets.

“This is all about non-product,” he said. “We know we’ve got a good product and we have new products coming in 2017 so this is about getting ready.” One such area the company has been bolstering is in customer service and satisfaction, and where the Japanese truck-maker has previously not had specific customer inquiry staff, the Hino Care Centre is now up and running.

Mr Lotter explained that “a lot of it is just playing catch up,” and added that in the past 12 months, 10 new roles had been created and filled within the company, with half of those at the new dedicated customer centre.

The introduction of the Care Centre is just one of a number of steps to roll out a greater presence of the Hino Advantage program that offers customers a number of aftersales services to make owning and running a Hino simpler.

In the coming months the company will be introducing a number of other Customer Experience Program elements, building on the core areas of finance, care centre, service, parts and roadside assistance.

Hino will also be strengthening the ties between parent company Toyota and the benefits of its One Toyota partnership. The agreement allows more streamlined and efficient access to “fleet needs”, according to Hino.

The brand's local presence will be further elevated in 2017 with the introduction of two new dealerships. Hino senior divisional manager Bill Gillespie said filling gaps in the national dealer network was a priority.

“We are still a little underdone in terms of network size and we are still looking at strengthening up in Sydney and Brisbane,” the former Peugeot Automobiles Australia general manager said. “Certainly western Sydney is a high priority for us and northern Brisbane as well.

“We need to establish two new dealerships. We look at how we compare to some of our competition and certainly the needs of our customers, and what they have told us is there is a need for those two areas.

“We would like to have those two established by 2017. We are talking to some partners at the moment but that’s a big part of increasing our footprint.” While the company does have a number of dedicated dealerships around the country, it is more likely the additional outlets would be shared with other brands, according to Mr Gillespie.

“We are working through assisting dealers or new partners. We’ve had quite a bit of interest in the industry and we think we can lock something down by the middle of next year.

“Both will be new premises. Size depends on whether they are multi-franchise or standalone sites, but at this point they are either or.” Mr Lotter explained that while there were certain brand strength advantages to single marque premises, a large volume of sales was required to justify the more specific dealerships.

“We recognise that we are most likely going to be selling through multi-franchise sites, we just want to be the brand they like the most,” he said. “To have standalone dealerships around the country would be very difficult.

“Within the environment, if we can be the brand they like the most and they know that we can give them support, I think we can still do very well in multi-brand organisations.” Over the last year, Hino has enjoyed significant growth in almost all national regions and hot-spot areas were allowing some dealerships to transition from shared dealerships to standalone.

“CMI Melbourne is about to become standalone,” said Mr Gillespie. “In Melbourne we will have two standalone dealerships “At least in the five capital cities we have standalone sites. Our ultimate goal is to keep that. Whether that’s the future, time will tell but, at this point, that’s the sustainable network.” This year, Hino is celebrating 50 years of the brand in Australia and over the half century the company has grown to offer a complete range of heavy vehicles from the 300 Series light duty truck to its 700 Series heavy duty model and buses.

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