Hooniverse Goes to the NTEA – Hino Introduced a Hybrid Cabover, Challenges Isuzu for Dominance

Continuing on with my postings from the NTEA Work Truck Show here in Indianapolis, Indiana. I just came back from the worldwide introduction of the new Hino Cab Forward Hybrid Diesel, specifically designed for the North American Market. OK, another cab-over truck which isn’t really the most exciting sector in the arena, but it is significant. Small Cab Forward sales have rebounded almost 45% in 2010, but still have a long way to go to get back to the sales levels of 2007. Hino looks to capture a share in this growing market that has been abandoned by Sterling, International, Ford and UD. Will they succeed?

This was by far the splashiest introduction at the show, complete with giant screens with eye-searing visuals, a video showing the history of the company, and then the screen drops, followed by very bad rap music. However, once the screen dropped, there was an intriguing visual behind the screen that looked like running water, and the air was scented with a floral hint. What that has to do with being green is anyone’s guess, but what I do know is this new truck will be a game changer.

According to Hino, this truck will be price competitive to the competition from both Isuzu and Mitsubishi-Fuso. The four-cylinder engine will produce 210 HP with 440 lb/ft of torque, and is backed up by a six-speed Aisin Automatic. The premium for the Hybrid Drive-train wasn’t released, but there was a statement in which the customer will recoup the premium within five years at current fuel prices. There will be a roadside assistance program for this truck for three years, though there was no mention of any warranty program.

The standard diesel trucks will be available for order in May of this year, with the first units hitting dealers by August. Hybrid and Crew Cab Models will be available for order in September, with expected delivery in December in selected metropolitan markets. Sales targets are set for around 1,000 units for this year, with a couple of hundred additional Hybrid Units in the mix.
So, there seems to be a resurgent Cab Forward Market. Many of the medium commercial truck buyers are downsizing, and these trucks could make up the bulk of the market. Is this a good thing?

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  1. LTDScott Avatar

    Ford discontinued the LCF? I thought they had just started? No surprise, I hardly see any around despite seeing a lot of cab forward delivery trucks.

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