Andreas Renschler, boss of Volkswagen’s commercial vehicle arm, Traton has given his first public views on the company’s cooperation with Japanese truck maker Hino, since the MOU between the two was signed in September 2018.

In an interview with German media, Renschler spoke about the existing cooperation between the VW commercial vehicle division and Toyota subsidiary Hino saying that joint work has begun in both Germany and Japan. Renshcler’s comments indicate that the two companies are now driving electrification as well as purchasing parts together,  while Traton has established an e-mobility team “to clarify which modules we can jointly develop for an electric drive,” Renschler saidA former boss of Daimler Trucks, Renschler is spearheading the Volkswagen push to consolidate its commercial vehicle operations of a global scale with its bioss putting into play lessons and models he learned and put into play during his previous tenure at Daimler. This includes the likely purchase of the remaining controlling interest  in US maker Navistar, to give Traton its much desired footprint in the USA. The Covid 19 crisis might just give a cashed up Traton, fresh from one of the largest IPOs in European history last year, the opportunity to buy an even further weakened Navistar at a bargain price.  With massive cash reserves at Traton and a sinking Navistar share price, the stated aim of taking over the US truck maker from Traton’s current position of around 18 per cent of the share register  might just become a lot easier.

“Hino complements Traton perfectly because they are very successful in Asia for small and medium-sized trucks. Besides, they are very far ahead in the future topic of fuel cells and hydrogen, and here, too, we are doing well together”. Hino and its parent company Toyota had, announced just a few days ago  that they intended to equip a 22 tonne GVM 12-metreHino 700 rigid truck with two Toyota Mirai fuel cell stacks.

According to Renschler, Traton wants to concentrate initially on battery electric trucks in terms of electrification. but added the fuel cell is “certainly an option” for the future drive of commercial vehicles. “We are on the fuel cell truck. You’ll be surprised when the first one comes along,” said Renschler.

He did not rule out the further intensification of the cooperation – even in response to direct inquiries as to whether the collaboration could lead to a merger. “In Japan, people think in very concrete projects, not in big pictures. These will emerge over time or not,” said the Traton boss.