Doing it in the Dakar

The Dakar rally provides us with some spectacular footage as trucks rampage through the deserts and mountains of South America. This year’s event was no exception, with the Russians dominating the race, coming in first, second and third in their Kamaz trucks. MAN managed fourth place with another Kamaz coming in fifth. Strong contenders Iveco started badly, losing a lot of time, but finished well, winning the final stage to finish sixth overall. The Hino team came in 16th overall, but first in the under 10 litre class, completing the course powered by a nine litre engine. Read more

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Workshop skills contest winners

Hino service, parts and sales staff from around Australia have competed in the finals of the 2014 Hino National Skills Contest. Running since 2008, the contest takes the top 22 service technicians, parts interpreters and sales representatives to Sydney to take part in the finals, after competing during the year across various disciplines to earn their place in the finals.


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Parts and service contestants completed practical exercises carried out in the national training centre to test their diagnostic service and parts interpreting skills on a range of Hino trucks. Parts contestants also took part in a role play exercise.


Sales contestants were tested in the form of a ‘Mastermind’ style TV game show, hosted by Network Ten motorsport commentator Greg Rust. He asked a series of multiple choice questions testing their knowledge of Hino products and those of its competitors. This was followed by a role play exercise where contestants were tested on their ability to provide the right Hino solution for a fictional customer.


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The National Service Award for 2014 went to Martyn Alexander of Newcastle Hino, the Parts Award went to Ryan Macauley of CMI Hino Adelaide and the Sales Award went to Andrew Harris from CMI Hino Adelaide.


“Providing Total Support to our customers’ businesses is our core strategy, and providing our customers with the benefit of timely and efficient service carried out by well trained staff is the end goal of holding this annual skills contest,” said Greg Bleasel, Hino Australia Senior Divisional Manager, Product Support. “We want our people to be the best of the best, and we believe providing first-rate training, assessment and development for our staff is vital to the continued success of Hino in Australia.”


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Hino National Skills Contest winners 2014



  1. Martyn Alexander, Newcastle Hino
  2. Nick Lions, Jacob Hino
  3. Darren Hillson, Prestige Hino



  1. Ryan Macauley, CMI Hino Adelaide
  2. Tom Stewart, West Orange Motors
  3. Luke Akehurst, Jacob Hino



  1. Andrew Harris, CMI Hino Adelaide
  2. Jason Cugley, Prestige Hino
  3. Ben Glasson, Adtrans Hino


Truck sales still soft

After a period in which truck sales figures have been depressed, the latest sales numbers for May, published by the Truck Industry Council, are not giving us signs of recovery, and are still down on last year’s figures. After a period where heavy duty showed signs of recovery while medium and light duty remained in the doldrums, the situation now sees all segments staying around the same levels and slightly below where they were 12 months ago. Read more

Management changes at Hino

A restructure of the management at Hino has taken place, after the departure of Alex Stewart to take over as General Manager at Foton Trucks. Responsibilities have been reallocated within departments and two new roles are to be filled by Bill Gillespie and Daniel Petrovski.


Gillespie has been made the Divisional Manager Brand and Franchise Development. He comes to the company from a management career in the car sector, working for Nissan, Toyota, Kia and Peugeot, and running his own business Obeya Consulting.




His new role is will see him responsible for a number of areas within the Hino organisation, in dealer development, after-sales management, corporate brand development, marketing and customer care duties. Gillespie has worked with Hino Chairman and CEO, Steve Lotter, at Toyota in the past.


“After a lifetime of work in the passenger vehicle market, I’m looking forward to the challenges in the truck industry,” said Gillespie. “I’ve timed it well, we’ve got very competitive products in the light, medium and heavy duty segments, plus the advantage of Hino’s hybrid trucks and the new high horsepower models in the 300 Series range. I’ve worked successfully with Steve Lotter in the past, I can see nothing but a bright future for Hino in Australia and I’m glad to be a part of it.”




Petrovski is being promoted to the role of Manager Product Strategy after seven years with Hino. The product strategy role oversees product planning and strategies, engineering, development and homologation for Hino Australia, as well as working with both Hino Japan and local third-party suppliers.


“The new position consists of a number of business critical functions,” said Petrovski. “My team and I work closely with our sales and marketing divisions, our dealers and our customers, identifying the most suitable product line-up and model mix for our customers’ unique needs. This area of the business is basically the funnel between the Hino’s factory engineers and the Australian market.


“I appreciate that Hino Australia has helped and encouraged me to develop my career within the organisation to the point where I can now provide Australian market expertise and local knowledge direct to the Hino engineers in Japan, for the development of Australian market specific vehicles.”

Hybrid fridge power

Hino, in Japan, have unveiled a hybrid truck designed to use the electrical energy produced by the hybrid unit during regenerative braking and while the truck is cruising to power a refrigeration unit on a truck body. The joint venture between Hino and component manufacturer Denso is said to be a world first.




The new system is to be released on to the Japanese truck market this month, fitted to a Hino Profia (known in Australia as the 700 Series). Improved fuel economy is expected as the fridge unit does not require a separate fuel supply. The unit is said to run quieter than conventional refrigeration units on trucks. It also reduces weight by 150 kg. The option of a plug in power supply can be used when the truck is parked up for long periods without the engine running.


“While Hino’s hybrid technology has been improving truck fuel economy for some time, Hino’s engineers are constantly looking for better ways to improve the efficiency and performance of its vehicles,” said Alex Stewart, Hino Australia Divisional Manager Product Strategy, Marketing and Customer Care. “The fuel savings resulting from this innovation means that the new Hino Profia’s (700 Series) fuel efficiency beats Japan’s 2015 standards by five per cent.


“And the reduced ongoing running costs from simplifying the refrigeration system will make for an even better cost-performance proposition for owners and operators. Hino has a long-term commitment to producing hybrid vehicles that deliver driving performance, fuel economy and low emissions without any operational downside, and the expertise that has come from this is now leading to even greater things.”

Still competing strongly at 72

One of the stories missed in the coverage of the recent Dakar Rally is that of Yoshimasa Sugawara, who was competing in the race for the 32nd time. At 72 years old, he was competing in a development truck for Hino, coming in second, in the under 10 litre truck class.



Simply finishing the gruelling 9,200 km event after thirteen days struggling through the Andes Mountains and deserts in Argentina and Chile is a great achievement for the Dakar veteran, competing as part of the Hino team, in their 23rd successive year in the rally.


Yoshimasa’s son Teruhito Sugawara was the winner of the under 10 litre truck class, coming in 12th overall in the truck division. Both father and son came home in their Hino 500 trucks, and their one-two result saw Hino win this class of the truck rally on the fifth successive occasion.


72 year old Yoshimasa was driving an experimental truck using the newly developed Hino AO9C 8.9 litre engine. This engine has a phenomenal 600 hp at its disposal from the relatively small capacity engine, 115 hp more than the engine used in the Hino 500 which won the event.


“I took part in this year’s Dakar rally as a test driver for our new truck, and I’m very happy with the results,” said Yoshimasa Sugawara after the race. “I am particularly moved by the fact that my son and I were able to achieve a 1-2 finish in the Under 10-litre class.”


One of the features used to improve performance over the length of the rally was an adaptation to the common rail fuel injection system to improve parameters in the control unit to take account of changes brought on by competing at altitudes of over 3000 metres. These changes give the driveline more torque over a wider rpm range.

Changes at the top for Hino

With Hino’s current CEO and President, Kenichi Sekine, returning to Japan after four and a half years in Australia, his positions are to be take-up by an Australian, Steve Lotter. He will move across to take up the roles as Chairman and CEO and the positions he currently holds, as President and COO, will be taken by a newcomer, Shunichi (Sean) Takahashi.

Takahashi is currently based in Tokyo working as the General Manager of Overseas Planning at Hino in Japan. Takahashi has more than 30 years’ experience with Hino and Toyota, having previously held positions such as Director of Toyota Brazil and Toyota Argentina.
“Steve and I have worked closely together, and I am very glad that his efforts have been recognised by this appointment,” said Sekine. “The past four-and-a-half years have been both challenging and exciting; I would like to thank everyone at Hino Australia and the Hino dealer network for their strong support.”

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