Hino’s national marketing manager Sarah Rosales has given some insight into the brand’s three-year sponsorship of Australia’s top level motor sport category, V8 Supercars.

Hino committed to the series as the official light and medium duty truck sponsor, a move which some people in the industry have questioned.

According to Ms Rosales, the deal is a strategic relationship building exercise, with the series creating an opportunity to engage directly with existing and potential owners on a national level.

“There is no disputing Supercars is one of the most popular sports among both existing and potential fleet customers and owner/drivers – unsurprisingly, 71% of its audience are male,” Ms Rosales said.

“We are really pleased with the high brand awareness we have with our current and potential customers – having said that, our research shows we have an opportunity to increase ‘familiarity’ which includes knowledge of our high quality, extensive range of products that are manufactured in Japan and our Hino Advantage customer care program.

“The 15 Supercar events also provide a great environment to engage with those customers through entertainment activities and behind-the-scenes experiences, to make the day memorable and give our people valuable time to build and strengthen relationships.

Supercars’ national footprint, virtual year-round competition and extensive television coverage were also key factors in the decision to invest, according Ms Rosales.

Another key attraction was the brand building opportunities for Hino, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in Australia in 2015.

“Brand is king and brand credibility is so important in the truck market. Fleet buyers need the deal to make commercial sense but are equally aware of their driver’s emotional equity in what they drive.

“And it’s the same with owner/drivers. They’re not going to drive a brand they’re not comfortable and familiar with,” Ms Rosales continued.

The company also unveiled its fan activation, the Hino Sports Bar, at the recent Sandown 500 – adding to its sponsorship, which includes hospitality, on track signage and branding over the ‘Hino Hub’ technical segments on the telecasts.

“It’s national, it’s flexible, it has many components that we can fine-tune as we need everyone at Hino understands the opportunities this program presents to share our brand in a way we’ve not be able to do before,” Ms Rosales concluded.

Hino is just one of several truck brands involved in the sport, joining the Penske owned entities MAN and Western Star, Iveco, Volvo Truck, Mack and Freightliner.