Built-in Flexibility

The modern truck has a lot of built-in flexibility, and the Hino 500 range is no exception. The models available range from the lighter end of medium-duty up to some serious heavy-duty rigid trucks. This means the trucks are going to experience very different working lives and need to be capable, no matter what the task.

Hino has looked at what they have on offer in the 500 Series and made a number of changes to increase the breadth and depth of its offering to the market. This means new chassis, new engines and new combinations of existing components.

“Our previous range offered 33 models and we have now expanded that to 51, so when it comes to choice of engine capacity, transmissions, suspensions, and wheel bases, customers have a myriad of options,” says Daniel Petrovski, Hino Manager Product Strategy. “The new FG, GH, FL and FM offer a broader range of applications than ever before.

“The all-new 500 Series has taken a long time to get here. The last release of an all-new model range was in 2011. In commercial vehicle terms, the wait is just about right on time. The basic DNA from design and manufacturing on any Hino truck is ‘QDR’ – quality durability and reliability. The new 500 Series project began in 2009, when Hino carried out back-to-back testing and benchmarking against our competitors on Australian roads over a number of weeks.

“Some of the changes from that testing were put into place on upgrades in 2010 and 2013, like SRS airbags, Isri driver’s seat and electric heated mirrors. But the work on delivering the results of the 2009 testing didn’t stop there.

“Australia is not the first to get these new models, they were released in Thailand and Indonesia in 2015. Australia is the first advanced market to receive this new model. It is a major new model for us – there are new engines, new exhaust emissions, new exterior, new staircase for entry and exit, new manual transmissions, Allisons across the range, new chassis and chassis layouts, diffs, drives steering axles, suspensions and new levels of safety.

At the heavier end of the range, Hino is now using the chassis design and concept it is currently using on the Hino 700 heavy-duty truck. This is a more flexible design with predrilled holes on the web of the chassis members and with a rivet-less flange.

The holes are 50mm apart along the length of the chassis, enabling both Hino and body builders to place components like fuel tanks and body mounts anywhere along the chassis. The name of the game in this segment of the market is to ensure the truck buyer can build whatever kind of truck they like from a generic base model, without having to resort to major vehicle modifications.

“We call the new chassis, ‘body-builder friendly’,” says Daniel. “It is an 840mm-wide, grid-hole chassis. It features a vaulted frame structure and a clean top flange, eliminating the need for a space between the chassis and a subframe. This is already showing real efficiency for body builders.

“They are high tensile 620MPa steel now, the same as the 700 Series. It is electro plated, which helps with rust resistance. The modular chassis pattern means things like batteries, exhausts and air dryers are now all modular components. We have spent a lot of time talking to Australian body builders about where different components need to go in certain applications.”