Bouyed by improvements in its truck market share and volumes, Japanese maker Hino is going to shine some focus on its bus offerings with aim of  lifting volume and market shares, its people moving products  having  languished a little in recent years.

The introduction of the innovative and different Poncho, which has started to find favour with last mile and on demand bus operators in particular, has  moved Hino to re look at its bus operations and  to move to  return some volume to augment its truck sales.

Hino’s General Manager of Brand and Franchise Development, Bill Gillespie, told Truck and Bus news  that Hino’s bus offerings had encountered strong competition  in recent years and  volumes had diminished, however a renewed focus aims to lift volume and increase market penetration again.

“A decade ago Hino was selling 100 buses a year in Australia and to some extent  Hino established its credentials in Australia with Bus,” said Gillespie.

“Hino sold its first bus in Australia in the mid 1960s  and there are still a huge number of Hino buses running on Australian roads  and a lot of bus operators  who know and  understand the brand,” he added.

“ We see a lot of opportunity because there are a lot of bus customers who like the brand as well as the reliability and the quality,” he said.

“We have some pretty interesting a strong product plans for Hino Bus in Australia over the next five years and  we are taking a fresh look at the market  and all the opportunities,” Gillespie added.

While Hino’s key rival and market leader Isuzu doesn’t sell its buses in Australia although it is active in bus sales in Japan and through Asia, preferring to concentrate on trucks in Australia. Hino’s other Japanese rival and number three in the truck market, Fuso has been active in the bus market locally and sells a reasonable volume each year.