Renowned supermarket chain Coles – employing more than 100,000 people and managing 11 million customer transactions a week – has received 32 Hino trucks to handle growing online grocery sales. The first batch of Hino 300 Series trucks hit the road in Western Australia during early November in the first stage of a rollout of Coles’ new in-house fleet.
Coles national customer delivery manager Peter Dixon said the online grocery business was growing rapidly. “Our online business is almost doubling every year and we are now delivering tens of thousands of orders a week,” he said. “The drivers are our only face-to-face contact with our customers, so they are very important. We actually call them customer service agents; and we want to have Coles team members serving the customers so that we can improve the quality of our home delivery service, which is why we are rolling out our own transport program.”
The new Hinos in the Coles fleet will be 614 Short Auto models, powered by a 4-litre common-rail direct-injection turbo-diesel engine developing 100kW of power and 353Nm of torque. They are fitted with refrigerated bodies produced in Sydney by Transport Refrigeration Services (TRS).
Mr Dixon said Coles chose Hino’s advanced six-speed automatic transmission because it wanted trucks that were easy to drive, manage and maintain. The ‘intelligent’ automatic has learning characteristics and can comfortably adapt to the driving style of the driver.
It also has fuel-saving torque converter lock-up in five ratios – from second to sixth gear – and offers significant fuel savings by electronically switching the transmission to neutral when the truck is stationary and the brakes are applied.
The Hino 614 model also comes with car-like features such as ABS anti-skid brakes, a driver’s SRS airbag and corner-turning lamps. The trucks have an 1100kg payload and can still be driven with a regular car licence, as the gross vehicle mass is under 4500kg.
“We are looking to develop a good relationship with Hino and look forward to working on developments to create an even more efficient operation,” Mr Dixon said. “The Hino Hybrid vehicle is an attractive option for the future that we’d love to trial once we get the main rollout under our belts.”