HINO: The Hybrid Expert on Commercial VehiclesBy Alejandro Enríquez | Tue, 10/05/2021 - 09:00
Q: What are the keys behind HINO’s success as one of the Top 5 commercial vehicle brands in Mexico?
A: HINO’s fifth-place ranking in the commercial vehicle sector and its increasing participation in the segment is the result of 14 years of work in the market since we arrived in Mexico in 2007. We continue to offer a differentiated product to our loyal and growing customer base. Like other Japanese brands, we have a strong focus on service through our “total support” offering that provides continuous added value to our customers and their operations by reducing costs. We provide service anywhere at any time through our mobile workshops.
Total support also entails high quality. We are the only brand offering a lifetime warranty for the first owner, provided the unit is continuously serviced on time. The lifetime warranty also offers clutch and brake changes for free. Hino has 100 service centers in Mexico that offer standardized prices to eliminate price differences often seen from place to place. We provide customers with training so they can make the most out of HINO’s vehicles.
Q: How has HINO taken advantage of the increasing growth of the e-commerce market?
A: The pandemic affected all sectors and all supply chains but e-commerce boomed. Consequently, our Series 300 units have played a fundamental role in providing companies with trustworthy vehicles. During this period, there was an increase in leasing demand so we offered alternative leasing models that allowed companies to have healthy financial cash flows. We allied with leasing companies and gained large contracts with this strategy.
Q: HINO is the only commercial vehicle brand that has imported hybrid vehicles into the country. How are HINO’s global sustainability strategies translated into the Mexican market?
A: We have been introducing hybrid units into Mexico since 2013 and historically we have sold over 1,450 hybrid units in the country. These products are aimed at a very specific segment of AAA companies that are committed to environmental protection and sustainability practices. A growing number of companies are prioritizing sustainability. Many of our customers in the food and beverages and last-mile delivery industries trust that hybrid units are ideal for their operations in urban areas. Hybrid vehicles rely mainly on the electric motor, so when a last-mile delivery unit needs to make continuous stops across the city it can save over 35 percent in fuel.
Q: How have your customers received alternative-powered vehicles such as hybrids?
A: We have a 100 percent trustworthy product. We have bet on hybrid vehicles in Japan since 1991 and we now are on the fifth generation of commercial hybrid vehicles. Thanks to our experience, customers are purchasing more hybrid units. Despite the pandemic, we sold 450 units in 2020. Our goal for 2021 is to sell 500 units. A client in Mexico has the largest HINO hybrid vehicle fleet outside Japan. This year, we will secure a client that will own the second largest HINO hybrid vehicle fleet outside of Japan, also in Mexico.
HINO continues to support its clients’ operations and there are a few milestones that must be achieved before reaching full electrification of commercial vehicles. Infrastructure, battery autonomy and fiscal benefits are some missing elements. In the meantime, hybrid vehicles are a necessary step.
Q: How is HINO adjusting its operations toward the recovery of its manufacturing plant?
A: Our facility in Silao, Guanajuato, manufactures our Series 500. Because of the pandemic, we saw some shortages but we are returning to pre-pandemic-level supplies. During 1H21, acquiring supplies for some vehicles remained difficult but we are betting that during the four last months of 2021 we will have enough units to satisfy market demand. We are also preparing for the potential enforcement of NOM-044, which will require vehicles to adhere to Euro VI/EPA 10 technologies, although we agree with ANPACT that these technologies should coexist with older technologies.
Bumper to bumper, our vehicles are 100 percent HINO. Most of the components are HINO brands, which allows us to offer lifetime warranties. We have sought to source some supplies, such as batteries, tires and steel. Our Series 500 units have enjoyed a good acceptance among our customers, which are demanding larger volumes for the coming year. Consequently, we will explore the possibility of expanding our manufacturing capacity in Silao.
Q: What role does HINO Mexico play within HINO’s global strategy?
A: We are a global company selling to more than 90 markets. We are always looking to bring the right product to the right market while taking into account all conditions in the country. While HINO has a global business development strategy, we always adapt that strategy to the target market.
In the short-term, we will increase our production capacity, not only of our Series 500 but also of the Series 300, as we continue to face supply shortages. This will allow us to advance our position in the commercial vehicle segment. In the midterm we will expand our product portfolio by launching new lighter class-3 models and increasing the capacity of our current models. Many of our clients are also requesting electric vehicles. In 2022, HINO announced a new vehicle for the Japanese market and we will start working to quickly bring that vehicle into Mexico. We may not be the first brand to introduce electric vehicles but when we arrive, the market will know it.
HINO was the fifth-largest commercial vehicle brand by volume in 2020 and is the only brand that imports hybrid vehicles into the Mexican market. It arrived in Mexico in 2007 and has a manufacturing facility in Guanajuato for the Series 500 model.