If there is one truck manufacturer which can look back at its performance over 2022 as being absolutely amazing, it is Hino SA. All was going well for the company up until April 2022 when those devastating floods hit KwaZulu-Natal and all plans for the year where thrown out the window- or more accurately, went down the drain.
Who will ever forget the pictures that emerged of the Toyota Prospecton plant being totally under water? It was unbelievable with the whole plant being flooded and all operations halted. No-one could even get into the plant for the first three days after the rain stopped.
The extensive flooding and subsequent clean up took a heavy toll as 78 built-up trucks or completely knocked down (CKD) kits of components were declared unsalvageable and were scrapped and destroyed so that none of these vehicles or the affected components reached the market.
Hino lost approximately 550 vehicles out of scheduled production before production restarted on May 23. About 100 assembly line workers went home for the first week after the floods and then returned to the plant in batches in the following weeks to assist in the comprehensive flood recovery programme.
It is against this background that FleetWatch lifts its hat to Hino South Africa on its remarkable recovery last year from what turned out to be a 41-day shutdown of its plant.
Hino SA’s original production plan for 2022 required 4 105 trucks to be assembled. This was revised down to 4 085 units and actual production came within 124 units of meeting this target, which was an excellent achievement considering the extent of the damage in what was arguably the biggest natural disaster in global motor industry history.
And how’s this for an achievement? In terms of sales for the year, Hino SA posted a sales figure of 3 333 trucks, which was 9.4% higher than the figure for 2021 – and only 417 units below the original retail sales target for 2022 of 3 750 units.
The 3 333 vehicle sales were made up of 606 200 Series models which are included in the light commercial vehicle segment. (The Hino 200 was previously marketed as the Toyota Dyna). Hino 300 Series sales, in the medium commercial vehicle segment, amounted to 1 512 units (up from 1 421 in 2021). Hino HCVs also showed increased volume with 995 units sold in 2022, compared to 744 in 2021. However, Hino sales in the extra-heavy category at 213 units were below the 338 trucks sold in 2021 as the company awaits the arrival of the new generation 700 Series.
“The year 2022 was a tough year for Hino and I’m delighted at the manner in which all those concerned – be they team members at the assembly plant or our loyal dealer network – made every effort to lessen the effect of the enforced shutdown and the result was that our sales and production results were far better than anticipated when we originally surveyed the extent of the flood damage,” says Pieter Klerck, General Manager of Hino South Africa, adding that “the cherry on top was our ability to keep up the high customer experience standards that have been a major feature of our success in recent years.”
The year ahead has numerous challenges – not least of which is load shedding. However, this example of the resilience of South Africans such as the good folk at Hino SA to overcome massive set-backs gives confidence that set-backs can be overcome – although admittedly, it would be a lot easier if all politicians had been swept away in the floods.
Well done Hino South Africa. FleetWatch salutes you. May you have a successful 2023, dubbed the ‘Year of the Solar Panel’.