Bank­ing on its 500 Se­ries

Business Day - Motor News - - COMMERCIAL NEWS -

Hino used the re­cent Fu­tur­oad Expo at Au­tomechanika SA to pre­view its new 500 Se­ries mod­els which will go on sale when pro­duc­tion be­gins at the com­pany’s plant in Dur­ban in Novem­ber.

Known as the 500 Wide Cab, the com­pany as­sem­bled a num­ber of pre-pro­duc­tion units back in May to test them against its QDR (qual­ity, dura­bil­ity, re­li­a­bil­ity) phi­los­o­phy.

The com­pany is also aim­ing to in­crease its share of the ex­tra­heavy com­mer­cial vehicle mar­ket from the cur­rent 4% to 6% says Hino SA vice-pres­i­dent, Ernie Traut­mann. At the same time, he says the com­pany wants to boost its share of the heavy seg­ment from 18% to 23% as it con­tin­ues its strat­egy to be num­ber one across the en­tire truck mar­ket in SA by 2020.

The 500 Se­ries will be cru­cial for this, but Traut­mann says the brand will also add one fi­nal pil­lar to the plan in the form of the 700 Se­ries at a later date.

Hino SA brought out one of its most im­por­tant peo­ple for the re­veal. Masahiro Ku­masaka is se­nior GM of the prod­uct plan­ning divi­sion at Hino in Ja­pan, but he is gen­er­ally re­ferred to in­ter­nally as the chief of chief en­gi­neers at the com­pany.

Ku­masaka says that the de­sign of the 500 Se­ries will lead the way for the next gen­er­a­tions of all Hino mod­els. He says it will con­tinue to pro­vide qual­ity while also main­tain­ing a high level of cus­tomi­sa­tion.

The new gen­er­a­tion re­places the cur­rent model which has been around for more than 14 years, says Don­ald Men­gas Mokoena of prod­uct plan­ning at Hino SA. He points out that Hino Ja­pan sent tech­ni­cians to SA for three weeks in or­der to as­sess the lo­cal con­di­tions and get an idea of cus­tomer re­quire­ments be­fore plan­ning the new model.

The range will ex­pand from the cur­rent five to 14 mod­els with the first ones ar­riv­ing in Novem­ber. The range will con­tinue to ex­pand with new mod­els ar­riv­ing in 2018 and 2019.

The range will in­clude wider choices of sus­pen­sion and au­to­matic trans­mis­sion op­tions as well as four 6x2 ver­sions, up from the cur­rent one. Wide Cab ver­sions will start from 16tonne gross vehicle mass (GVM) but there will also be non-wide cab de­riv­a­tives with a lower GVM, although ul­ti­mately these will be re­placed too as part of the roll-out of the full 500 range.

There will also be new 6x4 mod­els fea­tur­ing the 11l en­gines as well as on-road and off-road cabs. Fur­ther op­tions will in­clude high and low-cab ver­sions for vary­ing ap­pli­ca­tions.

There will be new Al­li­son au­to­matic trans­mis­sions avail­able as part of a more ex­ten­sive se­lec­tion of gear­boxes through­out the range.

Mokoena said “these are not trans­mis­sions im­posed on us, they are se­lected for us”.

Other changes with the new model in­clude height con­trol on air-sus­pen­sion equipped ver­sions, mul­ti­ple airbags and a head­lamp beam dis­tance that has in­creased from 67m to 80m to im­prove vis­i­bil­ity at night.

THE RANGE WILL EX­PAND FROM FIVE TO 14 MOD­ELS WITH THE FIRST ONES AR­RIV­ING IN NOVEM­BER

Hino launched the new 500 Se­ries mod­els at Fu­tur­oad.

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