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Hino rocks at annual dealer conference

WOODSTOCK, Ont. - In a delightful bit of irony, Woodstock, Ont. served as the host location for a very Woodstock-like event last month, as the president of Hino Motors Canada, Hiro Omori, showed off h...


WOODSTOCK, Ont. – In a delightful bit of irony, Woodstock, Ont. served as the host location for a very Woodstock-like event last month, as the president of Hino Motors Canada, Hiro Omori, showed off his prodigious guitar-playing skills during a presentation at the aptly titled “Hino Rocks” dealer meeting. The presentation was part of a two-day meeting and new product release put on by the Japanese truck maker, a subsidiary of the Toyota Group.

Omori appeared on stage at a Woodstock theatre where a four-piece band had previously infused a number of announcements by Hino’s staff with such hard rock mainstays as “Thunderstruck” and “Highway to Hell” by heavy-metal band AC/DC and Queen’s crowd-pleasing classic, “We Will Rock You.” When the curtain was raised for one final performance, a sunglasses-wearing Omori launched into a rocking guitar solo, during which the diminutive CEO wowed the crowd by playing several bars with the guitar behind his head.

The clever presentation helped introduce a number of Hino’s new 2008 products, which include the manufacturer’s return to the cabover market with a new Class 4 truck: the Hino Model 155. The new model will be manufactured at Hino’s Woodstock plant using Japanese components.

“This important expansion of Hino’s product line answers a strong demand from Hino customers, especially in large metro areas,” Omori later said in a release. “The superior maneuverability and short overall length of the cabover design makes it particularly well-suited for pick-up and delivery operations in large cities. Hino trucks are famous in Canada for their rugged reliability, superb visibility, driver comfort, fuel economy and Japanese quality.”

The 155 is based on Hino’s Dutro model and will be the “most dependable cabover truck in the industry,” according to Brad Sproule, senior national sales manager for Hino Canada.

Also new is the 2008 Hino 338H which is set to replace the 308 model as well as Hino’s new 358 4×4 which Sproule joked was “for the pick-up truck driver who just wants to look bigger.”

Hino also announced another hotly-anticipated feature for its light- and medium-duty trucks. Starting with the 2008 model year, air suspensions will now be offered as a standard feature on these two vehicle classes.

The long-awaited addition will see Iowa-based Link providing air suspensions for Hino’s light-duty vehicles and Hendrickson looking after Hino’s medium-duty trucks.

“There’s never been a more exciting time for Hino,” said Sproule. He noted Hino’s emerging dominance in the Class 6 market in Canada, saying the manufacturer currently represents about one-third of the total market share. Hino representatives at the event said the manufacturer has been gaining ground in the Canadian truck market in spite of a substantial pre-buy by fleets and owner/operators prior to the release of the new and more expensive 2007 engines. It was also announced that the manufacturer had reached a milestone over the past year, having sold its 15,000th unit in Canada.

During the two-day event, delegates were invited to take part in a “Competitive Walk-Around” where a Hino representative offered a part-by-part comparison of Hino models versus the competition. On the second day, delegates were able to test drive both Hino trucks and those of competing manufacturers, to further critique each unit.


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