It’s shaping as a big year for Japanese truck maker Hino, with  the company issuing a teaser campaign this week to create awareness around its new 300 Series light duty models, which are set to be launched in July.

The new 300 Series will most likely continue the safety theme the company started last year with the launch of its Standard cab 500 models. Making the suite of safety features the cornerstone of its marketing for the 500 Series  has proved to be a success for Hino, with those models carving out more sales volume and market share for the Toyota owned brand.

Hino Australia’s product strategy manager, Daniel Petrovski, says  that with an expanded model line-up, the new 300 Series will once again be a leader in safety while maintaining its excellence in driveability.

As well as its new 300 Series, Hino is also likely to usher in a new 700 Series heavy duty range late in 2020, depending on any further delays as a result of Covid 19.

Again the new Heavies will have the safety wand waived over them and Hino insiders have intimated it will be the safest Japanese heavy duty model ever sold in Australia when it breaks cover later this year.

The old auto industry maxim ‘safety doesn’t sell’ seems to no longer apply, particularly in an era when chain of responsibility and corporate citizenship is increasingly important and when you make it standard rather than an option.

As well as a higher level of safety systems and equipment the new 700 Series is also likely to finally have an 8×4 chassis option, putting Hino in the market for concrete agitator operators, large waste disposal trucks and other heavy rigid applications that rival Isuzu has really made some headway with in recent years.

Hino showed the new gen 700 Series ( known in Japan as the Profia) at the Tokyo Motor Show last year and launched the new truck in Japan in August last year.

Amongst the  various spec changes likely in the new 700  will be the availability of the A09C nine litre overhead cam  turbo diesel, already seen here in the top end of the  500 Series Wide Cab models and the availability of a hybrid model. This will potentially be the first time a hybrid drivetrain will be available in a heavy duty model in Australia. The hybrid drivetrain uses the diesel engine in parallel with an electric motor, which are both mated to 12-speed automated manual transmission

The Hino says the Hybrid will be equipped with Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems to deliver optimal hybrid driveline control depending on varying factors such as drive route, vehicle load, hybrid energy availability and uses these factors to determine the driving requirements up to 100 kilometres away.

This helps reduce the environmental footprint while minimising power consumption and maximising fuel economy.

The other new model that continues to be a matter of speculation for Hino is the potential to launch a version of its bonneted 600 series truck which is currently only see in  the USA. Whether Hino will allow a right hand drive model to be built and sold in Australia is not known but the truck could carve a substantial niche for itself and give the brand a configuration that rivals Isuzu and Fuso could not match.