Hino Trucks and Busmark in new joint venture

Light alloy bus body used on truck chassis

Light alloy bus body used on truck chassis
Hino Trucks and Busmark in new joint venture

Hino SA, together with long standing supplier Busmark 2000, have developed a new range of Hino 300-based buses. It uses high strength light alloys to bring down the mass of the vehicles, which provides additional carrying capacity. Although lighter materials are used, the high strength of these super alloys ensures that the structural integrity of the buses is retained, which is most important as the buses are people carriers.

“Using the new construction methods, the carrying capacity of the new Hino 300 based buses will increase with up to 4 extra passengers, depending on the selection of optional extras like rear air conditioning. There are plans to develop a longer wheelbase model, which will lift carrying capacity even more. These new buses also feature attractive new looks that are more aerodynamic and the resultant benefit in fuel saving will translate to savings on the cost per passenger transported,” says Dr. Casper Kruger, Vice President of Hino SA.

These medium sized buses will be ideal for the transport of school sports teams and smaller groups of company staff, as well as for supplying on government and other tenders.

When questioned as to whether Hino would enter the luxury coach market in SA, the vice president said that this market was well-supplied with product and very competitive. According to Dr Kruger, it does not make business sense for Hino to become yet another competitor in a segment with a comparatively small annual sales volume.

The Hino vice president was very upbeat when he gave details of the significant investments being made by dealers in new and upgraded premises. An impressive 43% of the Hino dealer network have invested or will invest in their premises in the period 2010-2014, with the total investment over the period running to well over R100 million.

“What is pleasing is this display of confidence in the long term prospects of the Hino brand, particularly as many of these dealerships belong to major groups and these executives have to justify to the board for approval of substantial investments. This means they see the expansion in their operations as good business,” said Dr. Kruger. “What is also encouraging is that, in the main, the decision to renew or upgrade facilities was made by the dealers themselves, with little urging from us.”

The Hino executive explained that building a new, standalone facility with drive-through work bays cost between R15 million and R25 million, while upgrades with four to five double bays usually cost between R4-6-million.

The dealerships in Middelburg, Nelspruit and Piet Retief were upgraded in the 2010/11 period, while seven more were erected or upgraded in 2012, located in East London, Okahandja, Lichtenburg, Empangeni, Ladysmith, West Rand and Francistown.

This year, no fewer than nine Hino outlets will be built or upgraded, being those in Parow, Lydenburg, Wadeville (previously the Tyco facility), Oranje (Bloemfontein), Kungwini (Bronkhorstspruit), Isando (a new dealer and the first in the Super Group), Midrand, Windhoek (Pupkewitz), Malalane and Potchefstroom. These developments alone will cost in the region of R60 million. At least three more dealerships will be built or upgraded in 2014.

Dr. Kruger said that besides the bus development, Hino SA would introduce a 500-Series tipper to the product line-up next month. Based on the 1626 model, the 15.5-ton GVM tipper will be priced at a competitive R571 771, and will fill an important gap in the range. Later in the year, there will be some changes to the 700-Series in the extra-heavy category with the addition of 8x4 and freight carrier models.

The Hino vice president went on to say that further product news would be revealed at the Johannesburg International Motor Show in October.

 

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