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Hino strives for a piece of the Class 8 truck market

Kenny Vieth, founder of ACT Research, checks out the new Hino XL8 Class 8 tandem straight truck that will go on sale in May. Hino brought the truck to ACT’s offices in Columbus, Indiana, to show attendees of ACT’s conference. ( Photo: Brian Straight/FreightWaves )

COLUMBUS, Indiana. It’s been about 50 years since a truck maker has successfully entered the Class 8 market in North America and lasted, said Dominik Beckman, director of marketing and dealer operations for Hino Trucks. So what makes Hino think it can do that now?

“We still view ourselves as an emerging player,” Beckman told attendees at ACT Research’s Seminar 60 in Columbus, Indiana, on March 26, 2019, despite the fact that Hino has been selling trucks in the U.S. for 30 years.

Beckman said the company is seeing growth in medium-duty segments being driven by last-mile.

Opportunity exists in Class 7 and Class 8, Beckman believes, and Hino is looking to prove that out. The company is no stranger to heavy duty trucks. Part of Toyota Motors (NYSE: TM), Hino sells Class 8 vehicles in some overseas markets. The new trucks in America will launch later this year. Orders will be taken starting in May.

The XL Series will be offered in the XL7 (Class 7) or the XL8 (Class 8). Both vehicles will be powered by Hino’s A09 turbo diesel, 8.9 liter inline 6-cylinder engine and can be spec’d in either straight truck or tractor configurations.

The trucks will be come in various configurations, ranging from a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 33,000 to 60,000 lbs. and gross combined weight rating (GCWR) up to 66,000 lbs. The engine can produce up to 360 horsepower and 1,150 lbs.-ft. torque. Wheel base options include configurations up to 304 inches. Tandem axle is also an option.

The truck will be built at Hino’s new Mineral Springs, West Virginia factory, a 1-million square-foot facility opening this year.

Inside the truck, driver comfort was considered. Model-year 2020 vehicles will include an air-ride cab and driver’s seat, hands-free Bluetooth audio/calling, steering wheel controls, LED headlights, cruise control, and air conditioning will all be standard equipment. The vehicles will come with HinoWatch 24/7 roadside assistance and HinoCare maintenance programs.

Hino’s telematics solution, Hino Insight, will also be available. Hino Insight Telematics carries a one-year complimentary subscription, while Insight Remote Diagnostics and Insight Case Management are complimentary for five years.

The Hino Insight package offers customers up to a 30 percent reduction idle time, 25 percent reduction in fuel costs, and 20 percent increase in fleet utilization through its data insights, Beckman noted. Since being introduced in 2017, more than 40,000 Hino trucks have been sold with the Insight package.

Beckman also said that Hino will added extended cab and crew cab configurations of the XL series as well as a heavier front axle option for snow plow applications. Those updates will be formally announced at the North American Commercial Vehicle show in Atlanta this fall. The company will also give its Class 4-5 cabovers a makeover for the 2021 model year.

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight covers general transportation news and leads the editorial team as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler.

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