Hino sa wraps up its local launch for new 700 Series
Anton Falck, Vice President of Hino South Africa making a point during his presentation at the Hino 700 media launch.

Hino South Africa has wrapped up the local launch of its new 700-Series trucks, which are important new competitors in the extra-extra heavy segment of the market, that is nowadays responsible for 60% of truck sales in South Africa.

The final leg of the launch was a two-week ride-and-drive programme at the Zwartkops Raceway, west of Pretoria, in mid-July. Participants included sales executives, existing customers, fleet operators and media representatives

The model range of four models was represented with various bodies and trailers suited to specific operations. The models on display and used for driving around the circuit were a tipper, flatbed freight carrier, and cattle truck, while several truck-tractors were connected to a side-tip, tanker, double dropside trailer, and a flatbed trailer.

Several senior representatives from Hino Motors Limited (HML) in Japan attended the three phases of the 700 launch to stress the importance of the new model, which is by far the most technologically advanced Hino to be marketed in the brand’s 50-year history in South Africa.

“This is the first full model change of the 700 Series in South Africa in the past seven years, and we believe the latest model will be very well accepted by our existing and new customers as the main aims of the latest redesign have been to lower total operating costs while further improving Hino’s proven reputation for quality, reliability and durability,” said Masato Uchida, General Manager for Overseas Marketing at HML.

Uchida stressed that Hino South Africa is an important member of the global Hino family, which now extends to 90 countries, with the South African company consistently in the global top 10 in terms of sales.

“Although the 700 now has a host of new, electronic safety features it sticks to relevant technology in terms of the drivetrain, which ensures its suitability for African conditions,” explained Anton Falck, the Vice President of Hino SA. “For instance, the basic 13-litre engine turbo diesel engine has been retained, but it has been specially adapted for the new 700 with flat power and torque curves, as well as improved fuel economy.

“Driver comfort was also a key concern of the design team, extending to Hino developing a 10-way adjustable, air suspended driver’s seat with the seat belt attached to the seat instead of the cab body as in the past. The new 700 has a significant array of active and passive safety features, which include a system of rear-view mirrors that eliminate all blind spots.”

The newcomer is the first Hino to provide the driver with a choice of three driving modes – Eco to save fuel, Power for passing other traffic or climbing steep gradients, and then Normal provides a balance between the two previously mentioned modes. A so-called “Eco-tree” provides the driver with a real-time guide as to the way he or she is driving in terms of using less fuel.

There is a warning system to warn the driver when he or she is accelerating unnecessarily, delaying upshifts or over speeding, as well as allowing the engine to idle excessively, such as when stuck in a traffic jam.

All models except the tipper have built-in ZF intarders that operate in conjunction with the standard engine brake to slow the truck, when necessary, without the need to apply the brakes. When these two systems are used correctly and intelligently then brake lining life can be extended to last as long as 600 000 km before requiring replacement.

The after-sales back-up for the 700-Series is comprehensive and the standard warranties can be extended at reasonable cost. Service intervals of up to 40 000 kilometers are possible depending on operating conditions. Servicing is standardised and the same tasks will be carried out by all the 65 Hino dealers in South Africa, with the only variance being the labour rate in each specific area. A standard service plan is available that works out at a cost-per-kilometre of only 37 cents over 480 000 km, with the aim of providing operators with known fixed operating costs.

There is a standard 3-year/unlimited distance warranty on the drivetrain, with the option of extending this warranty for a further two years with unlimited kilometers.

“What is particularly pleasing is that we have been able to negotiate highly competitive selling prices which is important as we look to grow our share of the extra-heavy truck market significantly over the next few years,” concluded Falck.