The Indongo Hino resurgence

700 Series expected in March
After a difficult 2022, the positive Japanese truck retailer adds 'peace of mind' to its offering.
Augetto Graig
Indongo Hino is back on track and catching up on the backlog left by the disastrous April flooding of the Hino/Toyota factory in Durban in South Africa, where the iconic Japanese trucks are manufactured.

General manager of the Indongo Automotive Group and veteran of the industry Willie Verdoes said sales had already been going through a tough time.

“There was Covid-19 and disruptions like the unrest. Just as we thought it was done and dusted, after an excellent March, on 11 April the entire factory for both Hino and Toyota completely flooded. For Hino, it was just as bad as for Toyota. For the remainder of April as well as May and June, there was no production. For that entire period, we couldn’t get new stock, and that put us under a lot of pressure in terms of sales but also supply to our customers,” he said.

Luckily, the Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan sent engineers to help restore the factory, Verdoes added.

“Now we are back on track, although we still have a big backlog, but we are catching up fast. It did have a serious impact on the business,” he explained.

In terms of the global economy in general, he said everyone is in a tight spot.

“High interest rates, wars, recession... All economies are affected. What helps us is that Namibia is a small economy, and our very loyal customers, some of whom are waiting for months. But I believe by August or September next year, inflation will start to drop and if there are no rate hikes, it will be good news.

"Tourism is picking up very well, with some businesses almost back to before Covid levels. I am positive about the economy,” he said.

Wide product range

Hino salesman Michael Marais shared that positivity, particularly because he offers a very good product in a wide range to accommodate all truck buyers. “We have the 200 Series which many deploy for deliveries and can often be seen around town. These little trucks are willing and popular because you can drive them with a regular car licence.

"The 300 Series comes in a two-tonne, three-tonne, four-tonne and five-tonne variations, perfect for farmers and popular with security companies.

"The four-litre Hino engines are well known. The 500 Series are the bigger trucks, used for cooler trailers and transporting steel. We eagerly await the launch of the 700 Series expected in March. Those are the big horses that pull the interlinks,” he gushed.

Well-integrated team

Indongo Hino general manager Jorinda Heymans praised Marais’ eagerness to fit clients with the right product, and said their service offering includes provision of genuine Hino parts and aftersales care in their dedicated workshop.

Overhauls and other work is efficiently carried out by a small but well-integrated team, she added.

“We try to get the trucks running better and quickly because we know they are our clients' business. Standing trucks don’t generate money,” she said.

On Black Friday, 25 November, Indongo Hino invited clients to tour their immaculate workshop, test drive some of the new trucks and participate in a demonstration of the Cartrack Namibia technology that now comes fitted with every Hino truck they sell. According to Heymans, clients get three free years of world-leading fleet management services included in the purchase price.

Jandro Rauwerda of Cartrack Namibia was present that day, personally explaining to clients how Cartack “puts you in control”. Tracking 1.6 million vehicles in 25 countries worldwide, and 4 500 in Namibia since 2008, the South African company has grown under the leadership of Zack Calisto into a world-leading telematics provider, Rauwerda said.

With 24/7 live tracking and back-ups of trips for up to a year, clients can combat cost leakages and unethical drivers through trip verification, he added.

For Indongo Hino clients, this means peace of mind, he said.