There has been a major restructuring in the senior management of Hino South Africa in line with Toyota Motor Corporation’s global policy of staff rotation among its senior management.
Casper Kruger, who has been the Hino SA Vice-President for the past five years and was instrumental in rolling out the change in name from Toyota SA Trucks to Hino SA, has relinquished his position at Hino SA and returned to Toyota SA Motors as Vice President – Vehicle Sales and Dealer Development for passenger vehicles and light commercials.
Ernest Trautmann has taken over the position of Vice President of Hino SA from April 1. He was previously General Manager – Sales and Dealer Network at Toyota SA.
Trautmann, who joined Toyota SA in 1988 as a marketing and management consultant in the training department, has built up an extensive track record in many aspects of the motor industry including eight years with the Toyota and Lexus distributor in the United Arab Emirates. In all, he has spent 26 years working with Toyota product, of which 18 years have been with Toyota South Africa.
Although Trautmann will have overall responsibility for the Hino operation in South Africa his focus will be on strategic and future planning.
Pieter Klerck, formerly senior manager for advertising at Toyota SA, is now General Manager – Sales and Dealer Network at Hino SA. His new position will include parts, service and customer relations thus making him, in effect, the operational head for Hino SA.
Klerck’s links with Toyota stretches back many years. Before joining Toyota SA in 2006 he worked at two advertising agencies where he was actively involved on the Toyota account.
“We believe that splitting responsibilities at Hino in this manner will be beneficial in that it will ensure there are two people to share the load which will result in even better service for the dealers and their customers,” says Calvyn Hamman, Toyota SA Senior Vice President – Sales and Marketing.
Concurrent with the changing of the guard comes the news that Hino has launched a global programme to put renewed focus on customer relationship building with an initiative known as Total Support, where the focal points are sales and service marketing to customers.
“This is a process where all the business activities work together to foster and deepen trustworthy relationships between the Hino head offices in Japan and South Africa, its dealers and its customers,” said Trautmann in his first address to the media.
The newly-appointed vice president also gave the good news that the move to a new truck manufacturing facility in Prospecton, near Durban, was now complete and production is running smoothly.
The relocation from a nearby site had enabled the production engineers to improve systems and install new equipment to streamline production and improve quality. The relocation cost R54-million and the official opening, which will be attended by the President of Hino Motors Limited, Japan, Masakazu Ichikawa, will take place on May 21.
Earlier Trautmann had announced that Hino had made a good start to 2014, with record sales of 425 units in March – the first time more than 400 Hino trucks had been sold in a calendar month in SA.
Total Hino sales of 890 units in the first quarter of 2014 saw the brand move back into second place among truck manufacturers and distributors as well as maintaining leadership in the medium truck market and regaining top spot in the heavy truck market as well.
FleetWatch extends its congratulations to the new men at the top and wishes them well in the future. And to Casper we say: “When you need help to carry those dinky toys, just call on the trucking boys.”