Toyota Trucks is no more. No, this intrepid truck marque that has plied the highways and by-ways of South Africa for almost four decades has not fallen victim to the global economic firestorm. Rather it has grown and matured and will from now on operate as an independent division in the Toyota South Africa Group under the guise of Hino South Africa writes Andrew Parker.
This is not really ‘breaking news’ as the initial announcement was made during the 2008 Johannesburg International Motor Show by Hino SA vice president, Piet van Wyk de Vries. In fact, even before that, Toyota had intimated that there would be a name change, re-branding and restructure of the company.
However, the fact that “Hino is All Go’ was deemed significant enough to stage a formal function well attended by dealers and media. Members of Hino Motors Limited management board, including the company’s executive vice president, Masakazu Ichikawa, were also in attendance.
And it really is a significant change for the operation with Van Wyk de Vries saying that Hino will now focus on the truck market with its own dedicated dealer network identified by a new corporate identity. It’s been a long time coming and it’s the right way to go.
Van Wyk de Vries says Hino South Africa is facing a market that has differentiated itself into a sophisticated entity that requires specific strategies, systems and totally dedicated people.
"We believe that the "Toyota Trucks" business has now reached a critical mass in South Africa where it can stand on its own feet, with a dedicated dealer network that is economically viable."
"We realised a while ago that maintaining this position of leadership into the future would not be possible if we continued to do business as we have up until now. It was time for change.
The realigned dealer network will eventually consist of around 75 strategically located outlets to provide sales, parts and service to our countrywide base of truck customers.”
Toyota SA CEO Johan van Zyl says that while Hino will now have a separate identity, it has the full backing and support of Toyota SA.
Masakazu Ichikawa, executive vicepresident of Hino Motors Japan, says that by boosting its involvement in the South African operation, Hino Motors is underlining its commitment to what it perceives to be a very valuable market.
Evidence of this is that Hino is strengthening its organisation and staff complement concurrent with the dealer development programme and has brought in sales/marketing and truck production specialists from Hino Japan.
Hino sales in South Africa (including Dyna) were the fifth highest outside Japan behind Indonesia, Thailand, Australia and the US.
2009 FleetWatch magazine and FleetWatch On-Line.
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