Hino says  it won’t be rushed to  join Japanese rival Fuso  in bringing a 500 plus horsepower version of its 13 litre  engine  in its newly launched 700 series  with the company’s product planning manager , Daniel Petrovski saying it is something the company is looking at it, but anything more than 500 horsepower would be for future launches.

Petrovski was talking during the ‘virtual’ launch of the  Hino Connect package for the new 700, the company’s integrated telematics program, which it developed alongside Directed Electronics which built and designed the system for Hino in Australia.

The system is now standard on the new 700 series trucks, the first of which have just arrived in Australia to fulfill what Hino has described as a very strong order bank.

Hino also announced the new Connect system would be standard  for all 500 series models from 1st January next year.

The Hino Connect system developed by Directed for Hino is integrated into the truck’s Multimedia unit, and allows direct communication with the driver and a vast range of data, which the company says is an Australian-first and will better allow customers to better manager their trucks and fleets.

Hino’s sales manager, Brian Wright said there is a very strong order bank for the new 700 despite  the lack of a 500 hp version of its 13litre and a delay in being able to deliver Hino’s signature safety package in the new 8×4 version of the 700, the variant Hino hopes will capture a large slice of the heavy agitator and refuse markets.

Hino was one of the high flyers of the Australian truck market earlier this year but in recent months its rival Fuso has closed in with strong sales at Hino’s expense.

However Wright says that supply has been the issue and that with the arrival of the first of the new 700’s  the company will be able to increase its volume  in coming months and this will enable Hino to focus its sights ahead on Isuzu, rather than glancing over its shoulder at Fuso.

“Orders for the new 700 are up 43 per cent this year when compared with the previous model in the  same period last year,” said Wright.

However the main focus for the virtual launch  was on the ‘software’ rather than the hardware  with  the Hino Connect system being explained in great  detail by the Directed representative.

Hino says a unique element of Connect is the ‘case-management’ provided by the Sydney-based team of Hino-Connect specialists that supports the customer, driver and dealer and monitors the progress of the repair to get the truck back on the road quickly.

“At Hino, we are committed to placing our customers at the centre of our operations, by providing them with experienced specialists within the walls of our head office in Caringbah and, with Hino-Connect, we provide a complete support solution that minimises their downtime,” said Gus Belanszky, general manager – service and customer support for Hino.

The company explained that fleet and business managers will be able to use an online portal and mobile app to access business intelligence and real-time insights into their fleet including live vehicle performance data such as fuel usage, the cause and effect of driving performance, and safety alerts.

Hino revealed other features of the system which includes live GPS tracking and detailed trip reports, plus what it describes as useful tools such as ‘movement without ignition’ alerts and geo-fencing.

“Another feature Hino-Connect offers our customers is an API (Application Programming Interface) data feed, which is rFMS compatible,” said Belanszky.

“For our multi-brand fleets, this allows them to plug the data from the Hino-Connect module straight into their own third party fleet management system,” he added.

“Hino-Connect is a natural evolution of the decade-long partnership between Hino Australia and Directed Electronics, which has been made possible by the high level of support provided by the team at Hino in Japan,” said Belanszky.

“Directed Electronics has built the hardware and firmware to suit the current market – their high level of expertise and capability allows us to deliver the right ‘plug and play’ solution for the Australian market, and provides flexibility to adapt the system for the future needs of our customers,” he concluded.

“We are proud of our partnership with Hino and the opportunity to work together in the development of the Hino-Connect program” said Brent Stafford, Directed Electronics Executive Director.

As previously mentioned, the Connect system was built from the ground up in Australia, including the local manufacture of the Hino-Connect telematics hardware,  while the company explained that the program is customised around a unique dataset ,available from the Hino vehicle and the capabilities of the multimedia unit.

“Hino customers care about digital services that keep their trucks operating efficiently while reducing downtime and operating costs,” said Mr Stafford.

“In developing Hino-Connect, we set out to build a system that would achieve this – it is more than technology, it’s about making a difference in the lives of Hino customers,” he said.

The launch revealed that the customers  buying 500 Series Standard Cab, Wide Cab, and 4×4 models and 700 Series customers will recveive five years of complimentary remote diagnostics and Hino-Connect Specialist support including vehicle engine control monitoring; severe fault alerts; and case management of fault rectification.

The company said that In addition, they will also receive 12 months of complimentary business intelligence access, which will provide in-depth operational management of their fleet including live tracking and trip analysis; fuel consumption and forecasting; vehicle performance monitoring; and maintenance support.

After 12 months, customers can choose to extend the business intelligence access and API integration for up to an additional 48 months Hino explained.

it was also announced that a modified version of Hino-Connect featuring the business intelligence elements will also be available as an accessory on 300 Series light-duty trucks from January 2022.

According to Hino the addition of Hino-Connect enhances the existing suite of business solutions through Hino Advantage for 500 Series customers,.

Hino said its Advantage program is designed to reduce cost over the life of the vehicle and also includes Hino SmartSafe, capped price servicing, standard warranty, Hino Genuine Parts, 24/7 Hino roadside assist, and finance options.