New light truck launched as local market doubles

Toyota's truck and bus subsidiary, Hino Motors has launched a new model. MD Masakazu Ichikawa talks to Robeel Haq.

One truck manufacturer hopes to exploit the light logistics boom in the region with an all-new model in Dubai.
One truck manufacturer hopes to exploit the light logistics boom in the region with an all-new model in Dubai.

Toyota's truck and bus subsidiary, Hino Motors has launched a new model. MD Masakazu Ichikawa talks to Robeel Haq.

"The Middle East is considered a very attractive market for the automobile industry. The demand for commercial vehicles in incredibly strong at the moment, especially in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Oman," asserts Masakazu Ichikawa, senior managing director of Hino Motors.

"Of course, we've had a presence in the region for some time now, although we're hoping to become more active in the near future. The response towards our 300 series has already been favourable from the local market, which is very encouraging."

Hino's enthusiasm for the Middle East market has been fuelled by the results of a recent study, conducted in association with Al-Futtaim Motors, its exclusive dealer in the United Arab Emirates.

According to the research, the market for light duty trucks in the country has doubled in size between 2004 and 2006, with further growth being forecasted in the next five years.

Growth

"This growth has clearly been driven by the overall strength of the economy, together with the expansion of the service and distribution sectors," says Ichikawa.

"Companies dealing in logistics, hospitality and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) are ideal customers for the 300 series." He added.

"All of these sectors are booming here at the moment, so I think the launch of these vehicles has been perfectly timed."

Hino has highlighted the safety features of the 300 series as a defining element in its commercial appeal. The vehicles have been equipped with anti-skid breaks, which are designed to prevent accidents on the road.

In addition, electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD) has been installed to increase safety when a limited amount of weight is placed over the rear wheels - for example, when the truck is empty or carrying a light load.

"We conducted a lot of market research whilst designing the 300 series. It's important to understand the demands of your customers, because the final product should meet their requirements, if not exceed them," says Ichikawa.

"We worked very hard to ensure these vehicles are amongst the best light duty trucks in the market. I believe we have succeeded in our endeavours" he said.

Requirements

Following the introduction of the 300 series, Hino is now planning to analyse the market response towards the vehicles, before commencing its next launch in the Middle East.

"Since this is the first time we have launched a light duty truck in the region, we are keen to receive feedback from the market. The initial reaction has already been positive and we will continue to promote the vehicle accordingly.

For example, we are currently targeting the logistics industry and other sectors through a direct marketing campaign," concludes Ichikawa.

"As of now, I believe Hino is the only brand in this market to offer the complete range of commercial vehicles, from 6.5 tonne delivery vehicles to 100 tonne trucks.

Our future releases will depend on market requirements, although we plan to continue research in the Middle East Following the introduction of the 300 series, Hino is now planning to analyse the market response towards the vehicles, before commencing its next launch in the Middle East.

"Since this is the first time we have launched a light duty truck in the region, we are keen to receive feedback from the market. The initial reaction has already been positive and we will continue to promote the vehicle accordingly.

For example, we are currently targeting the logistics industry and other sectors through a direct marketing campaign," concludes Ichikawa.

"As of now, I believe Hino is the only brand in this market to offer the complete range of commercial vehicles, from 6.5 tonne delivery vehicles to 100 tonne trucks. Our future releases will depend on market requirements, although we plan to continue research in the Middle East" he concluded.

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