Q: The North American trucking market has undergone considerable change over the past couple of recessionary years. How will Hino position itself over the next decade to take advantage of these changes and the opportunities presented in the...
Q: The North American trucking market has undergone considerable change over the past couple of recessionary years. How will Hino position itself over the next decade to take advantage of these changes and the opportunities presented in the North American market?
Sumio Fukaya: We realize that the North American market has gone through big change. Customers are seeking not just cost-effective solutions but also true value in the vehicle, customer satisfaction and a contribution to a societal mandate (green trucking). As the market shifts its focus from cost to value, we are in a very good position to capture market share.
Yoshio Shirai: The North American car market used to be dominated by large cars until Japanese cars were made available in the market and North America moved to more medium-sized vehicles with better fuel performance. If we apply that example to the truck segment in North America we see a market still dominated by heavy, fuel guzzling vehicles. We need to see the same kind of change in the North American truck market. Moving goods with greater efficiency is the value proposition we want to achieve with our hybrid truck introduction.
Q:What needs to happen for the North American market to accept hybrids?
Yoshio Shirai: For hybrids to become more widespread, customer awareness must become more important. Also price and performance of the vehicle must satisfy customer requirements. That is key.
Q.Will the new Hino truck have a variety of components available from manufacturers such as ArvinMeritor or Dana or will it be an all-Japanese product?
Toshiki Inoue: We are aiming at significant cost reductions with this vehicle. We will not be using North American parts for the vehicle. We will be exporting parts from here. But as the volumes grow, we will likely start sourcing North American-built parts.
Q.Hino builds Class 8 trucks for the Asian market. Can we expect a Class 8 vehicle for the North American market from Hino?
Sumio Fukaya: The traditional strength of Hino relies on heavy duty vehicles and our engineers are keen to produce a Class 8 vehicle for the North American market. But we realize the current manufacturers in the North American heavy duty market are very strong and so we prefer to establish our position in the medium duty market. Only then can we consider the Class 8 market. At the moment we have no specific plans for the North American Class 8 market.
Q.Have you been pursuing former GM dealers as a result of the demise of General Motors in the medium-duty market?
Sumio Fukaya: The fact that General Motors has exited the medium duty market offers a real opportunity for Hino. An increasing number of dealers who used to handle the GM brand in the US are showing interest in taking on a Hino franchise. General Motors had a strong presence in certain parts of the market, such as ambulances, in which Hino wants to increase its strength.
Shin Nakamura: The situation in Canada is different. Hino dealers are captive and handle only the Hino brand. By focusing on parts and service we hope to differentiate ourselves in the Canadian market.