Australia’s number two truck seller, Hino says it is putting customer experience front and centre in its proposition to trucks buyers and is focussed totally on being number one for customer experience rather than purely pursuing its Japanese rival and number one in the Australian market, Isuzu.
This is according to Hino’s general manager for brand and franchise development, Bill Gillespie who gave a media briefing last week discussing where Hino is at and what its prospects are for the short to medium term.
Gillespie says the company has a full order book through well into 2019 and he predicts the it will sell somewhere around 5500 trucks this year, about half the number its rival Isuzu will move, which is looking at a 10000 sales figure for the year. That figure will put Hino up about 20 per cent on its 2017 total and make it the best result for the brand in more than a decade.
Hino will launch the second half of its 500 Series range later this year in November, following up on the 500 Wide Body models it launched in early 2017. Hino’s 500 regular cab FC, FD and FE models will fill in its medium duty line up and give it an impressive range in this sector with features such as Allison automatics, stability control and reversing cameras as standard across the range, a factor which leeds Gillespie to predict that Hino is looking to capture around 31 per cent of the medium duty sector on the back of the updated range.
“Customer experience is particularly important for fleet buyers who often have no direct link to trucks, they’re looking for efficiencies and the data to show them how much a truck is going to cost to buy and run over a set period of time,” said Gillespie.
“A large company like Woolworths for instance wants to know the support they will receive, they want telematics so they can exactly track truck movements and costs and how to make their trucks more efficient.
“Customers like Woolworths want to be good corporate citizens and they’re looking for suppliers like Hino to be their business partners and for them this is the Customer Experience they’re looking for,” Gillespie added.
“Really it is our goal to be number one in customer experience amongst all the Japanese brands and if we do that right the sales will follow,” he said.
Gillespie pointed to the East Coast infrastructure boom as a major driver of truck sales and with so many big projects in the pipeline, either approved or being scoped, he doesn’t believe demand will diminish anytime soon.
“There are a lot of good factors at the moment, the economy is going along quite nicely, interest rates remain at an all time low and businesses are clearly stimulated to invest in and look to capital equipment such as trucks,” said Gillespie
Gillespie also said that more new models are on the way including a new version of its flagship 700 series heavy duty prime mover which should hit Australian shores in 2020.
‘The new 500 models and the planned new 700 series will help the company sell a planned 6000 trucks in 2019, so long as supply can be maintained from its parent company in Japan and truck body builder delays don’t stymie the plans.
“We have forecast 6000 in 2020 as well,” said Gillespie, who was reticent to be too precise about exact numbers given all the variables that can come into play between now and then.
“Fact is Hino is in pretty good shape look ahead to for next couple of years and we reckon it will be , pretty successful for Hino,” he concluded.