Medium-Duty Idol: Hino pres rocks Woodstock dealer fest

WOODSTOCK, Ont. — Japanese truckmaker Hino might be making headway into the medium-duty conventional truck market, but there’s nothing conventional about company president Hiro Omori.

At a dealer gathering in this central Ontario community this week, Hino sales folks from across the country gathered in the historic Theatre Woodstock auditorium to hear about company initiatives in the coming year — including the much-anticipated announcement of the return of the cabover model, which Hino abandoned in ’04.

Due to popular demand, the Toyota subsidiary will be reintroducing the snub-nosed version, but only in Canada. It will be styled after the popular Japanese Hino Dutro Model. (For more details on the Hino product announcements, watch and the November print issue of the magazine).

But back to the aptly named Woodstock gathering. The theme of the meeting was “Hino Rocks.”

The show opened with a four-piece rock band fronted by an Alannah Myles clone who got the crowd clapping with cover versions of songs like Queen’s “We Will Rock You.” For some reason, they also churned out AC/DC’s “Highway To Hell.”

After all the marketing and technological announcements were done, out to the stage came Hiro Omori. And rather than delivering a speech, which is what most people expected, the president of the company — in black pants, shades and black shirt — strutted around the stage with his seasoned Ibanez six-string, jamming with the band and even at one point hoisting his axe up over his head and playing behind his back.

By paying homage to what Hendrix did at that other Woodstock a few decades ago, Omori has arguably earned himself the title of Coolest Truck OEM President On the Planet.

Today’s Trucking senior account manager Jack Meli was in attendance. Meli himself is an accomplished musician and former professional bass player. His comment about Omori’s debut? “I knew he played but I didn’t know he was that good.”

One big difference between this Woodstock festival and the previous one? The dealers giving the band an ovation this time around sell trucks.

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