Hino Trucks, a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corp., will build a new line of Class 7 and Class 8 trucks called the Hino XL Series, the company announced at the 2018 Work Truck Show in Indianapolis on Wednesday.
Both the XL7 and XL8 conventional cab trucks will be powered by the automaker’s 8.9-liter A09 turbodiesel six-cylinder engine. The engine makes up to 360 horsepower and 1,150 pound-feet of torque.
Hino has sold more than 50,000 existing trucks with A09 engines globally, said Glenn Ellis, vice president of marketing at Hino Trucks.
The new models provide an updated model for Hino in the Class 7 segment and a first-time entry into Class 8 in the U.S.
“We truly believe the XL will provide this market space with a low-cost viable option not seen before,” Ellis said.
Hino Trucks has a strong name among U.S. buyers, said Antti Lindstrom, an analyst for IHS Markit. The success of its current Class 4-7 models should attract customers to the XL Series.
However, the company’s aim to position itself as a low-cost alternative to its competitors was surprising, Lindstrom said.
Hino’s association with Toyota provides both a reputation for reliability and strong leasing options, he said. “They haven’t participated in Class 8 before so they need to carve out a slice of the market for themselves.”
Rivals, such as market leader Freightliner, “will fight tooth and nail,” to retain their share of the Class 8 truck business, Lindstrom said
While the engine powering the Hino XL7 and XL8 is made in-house, other components are provided by traditional truck suppliers.
The axles are made by Dana and the suspension comes from Hendrickson. Bendix provides front and rear drum or disc brakes, while anti-lock braking is from Wabco. Standard transmissions are made by Allison. Eaton transmissions will also be available.
Standard equipment across the XL Series includes LED headlights, air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity and the Hino Insight telematics and remote diagnostics platform. Safety equipment from Wabco such as collision mitigation, electronic stability control and lane departure warning are available.
Hino will host customer demonstrations in the third quarter of 2018 and take orders for the XL7 and XL8 in the fourth quarter. The company has 235 dealerships in the U.S. and plans to grow to 270 by 2020.
Production is slated to begin on 4×2 axle trucks in the first quarter of 2019. Work on 6×4 axle models will start in the second quarter. Hino plans to build 2,500 total XL7 and XL8 trucks in the 2019 calendar year.
The XL7 and XL8 will be built at the company’s new facility in Mineral Wells, W.Va. The 960,000 square-foot facility replaces Hino’s current 245,000 square-foot facility in Williamstown, W.Va., as part of a $350 million expansion. The new plant will build the automaker’s entire line of Class 4-8 trucks by 2020.
Hino has set an ambitious but reachable goal with its target of 2,500 trucks in 2019, Lindstrom said.
“It can’t be much more than that,” he said. “It all depends on when they get the plant up and running.”