DETROIT - Hino Motors Manufacturing U.S.A. Inc. says moving its headquarters from Orangeburg, N.Y., to the Detroit area is key to helping the Japanese truckmaker boost its North American market share.
The move places Hino closer to its suppliers and could help the company increase sales.
Hino has sold 1,643 trucks in classes 4-7 through the first five months of the year, a 72.8 percent increase over the year-ago period. That's still less than 1 percent of the 200,543 medium- and heavy-duty Class 4-8 trucks sold in the United States through May. Hino makes trucks used for landscaping, towing, beverage transportation and refrigeration.
Hino expects truck sales to increase to 5,000 by the end of 2005 and 10,000 trucks within the next few years.
"We look at this market to say that there is an opportunity here for a new approach in medium-duty trucks," says Derek Kaufman, senior vice president of sales, marketing and customer support.
Hino opened its North American headquarters and training center in the Detroit suburb Farmington Hills about two months ago.
Its sales arm, Hino Motors Sales U.S.A. Inc., moved to nearby Bloomfield Hills in January.
Both companies are subsidiaries of Hino Motors Ltd. of Tokyo, of which Toyota Motor Corp. owns 51 percent. The rest of the company is owned by Japanese investors that include insurance companies and banks.
Part of Hino's growth also will come from a larger North American dealer network. Hino has 120 dealerships, up from 84 in fiscal 2003. The company plans to have 170 dealerships by March 2006.
Hino also is hiring more field sales staff, Kaufman says.
North American growth will come from Hino's new line of conventional trucks, which have the engine in front of the cab instead of under it. Hino has specialized in cab-over-engine trucks, which have no protruding "nose" and are popular in most other parts of the world, Kaufman says.
He says the new trucks feature Japanese-designed engines and cabs, with American drivetrains supplied by companies such as ArvinMeritor Inc., Dana Corp. and TRW Automotive Holdings Corp.