Hino Australia has announced it has decided to withdraw its quirky Poncho urban bus from sale in Australia.
The decision follows the company’s decision in August last year to suspend the Poncho from import and sale in Australia and follows the well documented and reported shutdown of production of the Poncho by BYD in China last year due to problems with a toxic material allegedly used by the Chinese company in production of the mini buses.
In a brief statement Hino Australia informed the media this week that the Poncho’s time on the market in Australia was over.
“In August 2022, Hino Motors Sales Australia (HMSA) voluntarily chose to suspend the importation and sale of Poncho Bus models.HMSA has now made the decision to withdraw the sale of Poncho Buses in Australia,” the company said
“While HMSA continues to believe that Poncho buses meet the relevant regulatory requirements for the vehicle, we have made this difficult decision in light of the regulatory processes that apply to the recommencement of sales of a small volume of vehicles,” the statement continued.
Hino first launched the Poncho bus in Japan 2002 and unveiled it in Australia in 2013 at the Bus and Coach Expo. it was nearly four years after that that the first Hino Poncho hit Australian streets with Clark’s buses at Logan City in Queensland.
Australia was apparently the first market outside of Japan to get the mini Hino bus. The company announced an electric version of the quirky shuttle bus concept, in 2021 , with the launch of the Z EV light-duty electric Poncho bus eventually happening in mid-2022 in Japan.
The light-duty low floor non-step diesel bus was first launched in 2002 in Japan has been widely adopted throughout Japan for community transportation purposes, as well as in Australia with more than 60 Ponchos are in service around the country. The low floor urban shuttle is sure to be sorely missed by bus operators in this country now that it has been withdrawn from sale.