On the Horizon

In spite of the challenges of the past few years Hino is upbeat about its future directions in Australia.
Hino vehicles undergo a regional roadshow in North Queensland.

Coming off consistently strong performances over the past several years Hino Australia is resolute about moving up a gear during 2024, with a new man at the helm following the company’s Vice President of Brand and Franchise Development Richard Emery being elevated to the President and CEO position at the beginning of February, following the retirement of incumbent CEO Takashi “Sam” Suda.

Richard brings over three decades of sales, marketing and business development experience in the global automotive and trucking industry, including roles as the CEO and Managing Director of Nissan Australia, as well as senior executive positions at Mercedes Benz, Mitsubishi, Audi and Land Rover.

Richard has served as a board member of the FCAI (Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries) and currently represents Hino on the Truck Industry Council.

Sam Suda retires following a 40-year career at Toyota and Hino, including his most recent appointment which was a five-year tenure as President and CEO of Hino Australia.

In common with most OEMs, Hino’s sales position has been frustrated over the past couple of years through international supply and logistics constraints as well as backlogs with local body builders, yet Richard is quick to point to an exceptionally strong forward order bank as a factor in the company’s confidence about the next few years.

“Our customers have remained consistent in their support for us and it would be fair to say that supply restrictions around our Light Duty 300 Series and Medium Duty 500 Series trucks have been challenging for our dealers and customers, and we are grateful for their patience,” he says.

“Our order bank probably remains too high because that means we are asking customers to wait just a little bit longer than we would like.”

Richard Emery has just been promoted at Hino Australia.
Richard Emery.

A Hino success story during 2023 was the Light Duty 300 Series Hybrid Electric which has seen a rise in orders for over 400 per cent year-on-year, with continuing strong sales already locked in for 2024, due in part to leasing and finance companies achieving a better understanding of the resale values of hybrid electric vehicles and the total cost of ownership of these trucks over a period of around five years, which contributed to an improved business case in addition to the inherent environmental advantages of the hybrid system.

“From a sales and marketing perspective, 2024 will see a further concentration on our Hybrid Electric products while we expect our Heavy Duty 700 Series to experience further sales growth.

After being off market during late 2022, the 500 Series has really bounced back which is a testament to the product but also to the loyalty of our customers who lived through the time we weren’t able to deliver 500 Series,” says Richard.

“If we can get some extra supply, which we intend to do in 2024, then I think the 700 Series will probably grow by more than ten per cent.”

Hino Australia’s strong results during 2023 were not limited to new truck sales, as the aftersales side of the business continued to undergo significant growth with record parts sales during the year, due in part to the state of the art Parts Distribution Centre which opened in Western Sydney during the COVID lockdowns in 2021.

The parts supply strategy flows through to the dealer level where enhanced stock level predictions are aiming at ensuring the right parts are available in the right location and at the right time.

“Our service workshops and parts business are operating at record levels,” says Richard, “This has seen our dealer partners investing in greater capacity and resources to fulfill this growth, which is expected to continue into 2024.”

During 2023 Hino Australia won its 15th successive Parts Department of the Year global award.

The Hino dealer service sector has seen sustained growth and a positive change in the work mix as businesses requiring transport grow and obtain new trucks as well as refurbishing older ones in order to meet the increased volume of work and keeping those rehabilitated trucks in the fleet rather than trading them on new vehicles.

“Our current focus is to invest in and entrench a sustainable and robust business model that will perform regardless of any potential challenges,” says Richard.

“Together with our automotive business partners we have invested over $45 million in the infrastructure and services to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations both now and in the future.”

Hino badge on a Hino 500 unit.
The Hino 500 Series has bounced back after supply disruptions.

In addition to more advanced technical training, Hino is working towards improving the efficiency of its technicians by initiating the Service Efficiency Program which examines factors as fundamental as counting the steps taken by technicians during their shifts to not only improve the overall performance of the service divisions but also to manage the workload and physical and mental stresses on the people and contribute positively to their well-being.

An increased number in the intake of apprentices will also have a positive effect on the future service offerings at Hino dealerships.

The increased number of Hino Hybrid Electric trucks has also driven the need for increased training of technicians. As further support for that requirement, Hino has delivered Hybrid Electric vehicles to the Sunraysia Institute of TAFE in Victoria, TAFE South Australia, and Shellharbour TAFE in New South Wales.

Hino Australia’s Hybrid Electric training program will also be offered to other TAFE trainers and the heavy vehicle collision repair industry.

Hino Australia will continue with its association with Supercars which has proven to be a good fit with the customer and dealer bases and factors such as the ‘Hino Hub’ serve to demonstrate a high tech approach to motor sport, suitably supported by the experiences provided by the Hino Sports Deck mobile spectator hospitality facility.

It is strongly evident that Hino in Australia is playing the long game.

“We need to ensure the business is running on all cylinders and have less reliance on short-term sales results,” says Richard.

“But we’ll still take the sales results. I’m a sales guy, a competitive guy and we love to be selling as much as we can, but we also need to make sure we’ve got a sophisticated, mature, and robust business model to give the customers the service levels they require.” He adds,

“We want to be everything to some customers, not something to lots of customers. We will continue to hone in on key applications and our key customer base and not be all things to all people.”

Send this to a friend