Hino Motors Canada
An eye on the future best describes Hino Motors Canada’s corporate philosophy.
A defining player in the Canadian landscape since 1974, Hino Motors Canada manufactures and distributes Medium- and Heavy-duty Class 4 to Class 7 trucks across Canada through its coast-to-coast dealership network.
These past few years, Hino Motors has wisely attached its growth strategy to sustainability initiatives. Understanding its market’s sensitivity to rising fuel prices, and therefore the need for increased fuel efficiency, Hino is getting ready to launch its new hybrid truck.
Pulling away from the competition
It’s no secret—the automotive and trucking industries were hit hard during this past recession. In fact, two of Hino Motors’ largest competitors dissolved during this period.
Shrewdly, Hino Motors seized this opportunity to improve operations. The company escaped the ravages of the last recession because of their rigorous adherence to Kaizen, the Japanese continuous improvement management theory. Nothing was sacred—they scoured manufacturing, operations, and administration to increase efficiencies, improve processes, and reduce costs.
These changes allowed Hino Motors to come out of the recession at full speed. The company’s dramatic recovery meant Hino Motors could develop a formidable growth strategy to further build its business. Accordingly, Hino Motors’ market share stands at about 21 per cent – good for second place nationwide in the Class 4 to Class 7 categories.
The cornerstone of the business has been built on quality, durability, and reliability. Fuel efficiency is the major factor that further increases the value delivered to customers.
“The name Hino is synonymous with fuel efficiency and that has been a very big selling feature for us,” explained Eric Smith, Vice-President of Sales, Hino Motors Canada, adding, “A recent study compared our product to a similarly equipped International product. We showed a 19.8 per cent fuel efficiency advantage. When you start talking those kinds of numbers, the value to the customer is huge.
“We also back up our products with what I consider to be the best warranty in the business. It’s a unique program, our 1-3-5 Customer Care Program, consisting of one year of free maintenance up to 50,000 kilometres, three years road-side assistance, and a five-year engine warranty.”
The environment and sustainability initiatives are key issues in developing any company’s public image.
Tellingly, these aren’t exactly brand new ideas for Hino Motors.
Hino Motors’ history with hybrid vehicles dates back to 1991, beginning with production primarily for Asian markets. Today, its hybrid vehicle is a new product for the North American marketplace and Hino Motors is poised to use its in-depth experience to gain a market foothold.
“This is now a proven product. The time is right to introduce it into the North American marketplace,” Smith summarized.
Recognized as a leader in environmental technology, Hino Motors uses what is known as Selective Catalytic Reduction in its products, virtually eliminating harmful oxides of nitrogen from exhaust gases.
Hino Motors has now taken this method one step further. On the verge of launching its hybrid class 5 truck, the first of its kind in North America, the company’s competitive advantage is further strengthened by its obvious commitment to the environment.
A hybrid beyond your expectations
It wouldn’t be an understatement to suggest that hybrid technology represents the next generation in the trucking market.
The market trend pushes trucking companies to offer hybrid, alternative fuel vehicles, an area where Hino Motors has both prepared and invested, ready to take the market by storm. Overall, Hino Motors’ creates a product that is “absolutely ideal” for those customers looking to promote their environmental image.
Smith explained, “Hybrids will be especially valuable in urban environments. There is a lot of stop-and-go traffic and slower average operating speeds. That’s where our product is really going to excel. In this class of truck, it is a perfect match.
“Some of the technology that has gone into this truck is designed for a truck application, called a Parallel Hybrid system, designed to offer maximum efficiency.
Initially, we believe this will be more of a niche application, but in the future there will be broader application for this type of vehicle.”
The Hino growth strategy
Away from the hybrid launch, Hino Motors will also launch a complete new lineup of light duty trucks, classes 4 and 5. With a new, from the ground up cab-over design, Hino Motors offers unique features not found in the competitor’s product. In fact, Hino Motors received an “overwhelming reception” for its new product at dealer open houses across Canada.
“Fuel efficiency is our No. 1 concern with this product, but also comfort features, because for a lot of customers in this segment the truck can be their office,” Smith said.
So popular in fact, in its first two months of production, the new product is already sold out. Orders are being placed as quickly as these trucks can be produced.
Future goals focus on the customer
Like any successful business, Hino Motors places an emphasis on customer service. From its operations, to assembly, to parts distribution, the success of the business can be summarized by the quality of products. After all, what’s not to like about high fuel efficiency and overall low operating cost.
From here, the goal is to further the growth the company has experienced in recent years. Brand recognition will serve as a big part of this endeavor. Outside of the trucking market, Hino Motors remains “the best kept secret”, according to Smith.
“We want to improve the brand recognition with the Hino product. Certainly we see that we are going to continue to grow. We want to be an environment leader with the new products that we are going to be bringing. We want to be recognized as the leader in the business with the technology that we can bring.”