Historic Truck Brands
Hino traces its roots back to the founding of Tokyo Gas Industry Company in 1910. The company soon broadened the product line to include electronic parts and rename as Tokyo Gas and Electric Industry (TG&E), producing its first motor vehicle, the Model TGE A-Type Truck, in 1917.
Throughout the 1920s and 30s, the company continued to develop its TGE model trucks and in 1937 even helped The Tokyo Imperial University build the Koukenki, a long-range research plane. The plane briefly held the world record for long distance flight.
In 1937, TG&E merged its automobile division with that of Automobile Industry Co, Ltd and Kyodo Kokusan K K, to form Tokyo Automobile Industry Co, Ltd, with TG&E as a shareholder. Four years later, the company changed its name to Diesel Motor Industry Co, Ltd, which would eventually become Isuzu Motors Limited.
In 1942 the company changed its name to the Hino Heavy Industry Co and the Hino name was born. The company took its name from the location of its headquarters in Hino city within Tokyo prefecture.
During World War II, Hino manufactured marine diesel engines and the Type 1 Ho-Ha half-track and Type 1 Ho-Ki armoured personnel carrier for the Imperial Japanese Army.
Following the end of World War II, the company had to stop producing large marine diesels and dropped the ‘Heavy’ from its name. The product focus became trucks, buses and smaller diesel engines, as Hino Industry Co., Ltd.
To sharpen its marketing focus to customers, in 1948, the company added the name ‘Diesel’ to become Hino Diesel Industry Co, Ltd.
In 1950 the heavy-duty TH10 was introduced, with a new seven-litre DS10 diesel engine. An eight-tonner, it was considerably larger than existing Japanese trucks which had rarely been built for more than six-tonnes payload. The TH10 remained in production until 1968, when it was replaced by COE trucks.
In 1953, Hino entered the private car market, by manufacturing Renaults under licence, but in 1961, started building its own Contessa 900 sedan, with an 893cc rear-mounted engine and a pickup truck called the Hino Briska with the Contessa engine slightly enlarged and installed in the front with rear wheel drive.
Hino ceased private car production in 1967 after joining the Toyota group, but the Briska remained in production until 1968, when Toyota released the Briska-based Toyota Hilux.
In 1963, the Hamura factory opened, to focus entirely on commercial truck and bus manufacture.and in 1964 Hino Ranger KM, Japan’s first 3.5-ton medium-duty truck, was introduced. The Ranger eventually became the 500 Series.
In 1975, Hino brought six evaluation HH340 6×4 prime movers to Australia during that year. One was given to TNT, because it had run several medium-duty Hinos in its local distribution fleet with great success. However, the HH was never introduced as a line-haul truck.
Hino Motors’ business alliance with Toyota Motor Co became a merger in 1982, forming the Toyota Motor Corporation.
The redesigned Super Dolphin Series heavy-duty truck was launched in 1982. The Super Dolphin was Hino’s entry into the heavy duty truck market. In 1992 it was redesigned again and became the Super Dolphin Profia and then later the Profia. For most export markets, it is simply known as the Hino 700.
In 1999, the Dutro light-duty truck was introduced, following joint development with Toyota Motor Corporation. The Hino Dutro replaced the earlier Ranger 2 and Ranger 3 trucks that were badge-engineered versions of Daihatsu’s Delta series. In Australia it was later known as the Hino 300.
In 2003 a light-duty hybrid truck was launched and in 2011 a new light-duty 300 Series was launched.
For the US and Canadian markets Hino reintroduced bonnetted models in 2004, spanning Class 4 to Class7. The first generation Hino 600 replaced the fourth generation, F-Series cabover. A face-lifted 600 was introduced in 2007 and Class 4 and 5 models were replaced by the COE Hino 155 and 195 in 2012, positioned the bonnetted models in Class 6, 7 and 8.
In 2018, Hino and Volkswagen Truck and Bus (later renamed Traton) announced a wide-ranging strategic partnership for activities including procurement, technologies and logistics. In November 2019, the two companies established a procurement joint venture called Hino and Traton Global Procurement.
Hino Down Under
The Thiess Group imported Hino trucks into Australia during 1971. Leslie Thiess (later Sir Leslie) had great success with the Toyota light commercial product since the 1950s, when they were used during the construction of the Snowy Mountains Scheme. Hino distribution was logical step from Toyota distribution.
In that first year only 76 trucks were sold, but total sales reached 5000 in its first 10 years.
From the outset, modified truck chassis proved popular with Australian bus operators.
Hinos came in as CBU (Completely Built Up) units and were distributed from the Sydney suburb of Roseberry; later moving to a then-new facility at Taren Point on the edge of Botany Bay.
Thiess Group planned a deep-water port at Taren Point, for ease of importing Toyotas and Hinos, but environmental issues prevented that from happening.
In the 1980s an assembly operation was set up at Taren Point for SKD (Sectionally Knocked Down) production.
Hino Motor Sales Australia (HMSA) was formed and run as an independent operation in 1995, on a newly constructed site in the nearby suburb of Caringbah.