The latest range of Hino 500 Wide Cab trucks has gone into production at Hino South Africa’s world class assembly plant in Prospecton, near Durban, and units are already on the way to dealerships countrywide. The Hino 500 range is being expanded from five models to 12 in the first full model change in 14 years.
The start of production follows the longest and most intensive pre-launch marketing programme by Hino South Africa. This included road shows in Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal and will continue to Namibia and Botswana in January 2018. There were also visits to Hino Japan by commercial vehicle journalists and Hino SA customers, as well as a public launch at the Futuroad Truck Expo, which was co-located with Automechanika Johannesburg at the Johannesburg Expo Centre in October.
“The increased Hino 500 range, including 6×4 models, will allow us to compete in many niche segments we were not in previously,” explained Ernie Trautmann, the Vice President of Hino SA, speaking at the recent line-off ceremony for the new model. “The many additional features in the new Hino 500 model range, as well as competitive pricing, and the much bigger line-up should enable us to regain our dominance in the local heavy commercial vehicle market.”
The traditional line-off ceremony was attended by senior executives from Hino Motors Japan, customers, dealers, media, officials from the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government, eThekwini municipality and all the team members in the factory.
The introduction of this latest model from Japan’s leading heavy truck manufacturer into the Prospecton facility involved an investment of more than R20-million by Hino SA, with several significant changes to the assembly process. Most of these are aimed at improving productivity and quality, while lessening the physical load on team members.
The current plant, which has been in operation since 2013, has a produdtion capacity of 5 000 trucks a year on a single shift, with total manning increasing recently by 10 people to a total of 113.
Masamichi Mizukoshi, the Managing Officer of Production and Production Control at Hino Motors Limited, who attended the line-off ceremony, said he was highly impressed with the plant in Prospecton. He challenged the team members to work together to strive to become the highest quality Hino plant outside Japan.
“Hino has been in South Africa for 45 years and Toyota South Africa Motors is one of the oldest Hino distributors in the world, so we are very pleased to be able to now offer the latest model in the local heavy truck market,” said Calvyn Hamman, Senior Vice President of Sales, and Marketing at TSAM. “The 500 is a very important model in our local Hino range as we accelerate our sales rate in all segments of the market as part of our 2020 Vision of becoming the top-selling truck brand in South Africa post 2010.”