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Japanese manufacturer Hino has announced that assembly of the new Hino 500 Series truck will start at Toyota South Africa Motors’ Durban plant in November. Hino is a Toyota group company.

Hine to assemble 500 Series trucks locallyAccording to Hino South Africa senior manager Leslie Long, the first prototypes have already been built, and will offer major improvements over the current range in terms of safety, load ability and engine performance, as well as driver comfort. Comfort over rough roads has increased by 22% over the old model, the company says, and the new 500 will offer more variations, a new cabin design and a new platform for body mounting.

The Hino 500 Series will expand from five to 12 models, including five 4 x 2 FG models, four 6 x 2 FL models and three 6 x 4 FM models. The 6 x 4 will offer a new engine not seen in South Africa before. The FG and FL models will be available in two automatic versions each, with no automatic transmission on the FM.

The new trucks will be supplied to South Africa, in kit form, from Hino’s new Koga plant, 121 km north of Tokyo. The plant supplies knockdown kits to 22 countries around the world.

Toshiaki Yasuda, Hino Motors Overseas Sales and Marketing Managing Officer, says the move to have the trucks installed in Durban is the latest step in the company’s African expansion plans. South Africa is Hino’s ninth largest global market outside Japan, and the company wants to increase overseas sales this year. Hino sold 170 000 trucks last year, with 63 000 of these units sold in its Japanese home market.

Yasuda adds that Hino wants to use its South African base to penetrate the Southern African market. “Central Africa and countries such as Kenya are growing in importance for Hino, as political instability has dampened prospects for growth in North Africa. South Africa will remain our main focus in the next three to five years. Without success in South Africa, our strategy in Africa will not work,” he says.

The new 500 heavy-commercial vehicle will be the first new 500 truck range in South Africa in 15 years. Hino aims to be the number one truck brand in South Africa by 2020.

Image credit: https://hinomiddelburg.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/hino-500.jpg

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