Ramez Hamdan
Ramez Hamdan, General Manager — Commercial Vehicles, Al-Futtaim Motors Company Image Credit: Supplied

Please elaborate on your product portfolio.

We are the commercial vehicle arm of Toyota Group. We are the only Japanese brand to have a full range of light, medium and heavy duty trucks, starting from two-tonne to 100-tonne. All our products are manufactured in Japan. Hino trucks are assembled in the same factory as Cruiser and Prado.In forklifts we have the diesel, gasoline and electric.

How would you summarise the key focus areas for Toyota in the current market?

Toyota has always strived to be number one in the market with safety and environment as top priority, with continuous innovations to meet demands of customers. Ensuring high quality is preserved at a right price and Kaizen the main theme to take Toyota to next level.

Are there any new models for trucks scheduled for release?

We have just launched the 2020 model across the range. These models, especially in the light duty trucks, come with tubeless tyres and tool bags for the driver and the co-driver in addition to a lot of technical and mechanical features.

They have been very successful in the market as we got tenders from Abu Dhabi Municipality for waste management through West Coast Manufacturing and we have supplied 300 vehicles. We got a taxi deal for more than 100 units and we provided the National Food Products Company of NFPC Group with more than 300 units.

We have recently supplied more than 150 units to Al Marai, one of the most important dairy companies in the UAE and the region. We are the sole partners of fuel distribution companies such as Cafu and Adnoc. Besides, we have prestigious customers like Emirates Airlines for our forklifts.

How important is R&D to Hino?

Hino and Japan are continuously working on developing new models. This is why we are testing hybrid trucks in the market for a year and a half. Hopefully in the coming one or two years we will be officially launching it.

What gives Japanese products their reputation for quality?

The credibility and durability of the product is what makes it special. The quality is definitely our main forte, but it’s not enough. We need to offer good local dealer support. That’s why you get the right support for all Toyota products. We offer great quality and we are the right distributor, who provides customers support whenever needed. Irrespective of the time and location, we never fail our customers. In short, we have the right product, the best quality, the best customer support service, and the best after sales support. This perfect combination makes us very successful and is the reason why we are getting big market shares.

It’s worth mentioning that Hino has seen a growth in market share from 12 per cent to 34 per cent in the last three years.

What is Hino offering in terms of after sales support?

We have been busy trying to build our after sales network to be close to customers. In addition to our existing plans and facilities in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, we have opened service centres in Dubai Investment Parks to serve customers with trucks and also as a point for spare parts. We are also increasing our outdoor service so that we can service vehicles even at the customer’s site if needed. We are further extending our support to our customers with road assistance and site maintenance.

How has the forklift market changed over the last decade?

Forklift market and customers have a matured approach towards procurement of new machines. This industry was once dominated by IC engines. With the evolvement in the market and the approach to Go Green, you could see the industry shifting towards electric and more advanced available options.

With buildings increasingly reaching for the skies what are the technological challenges faced and the innovations introduced in your equipment?

Toyota is ready with solutions for their customers with their R&D team striving to be ahead of all the demands thrown at them from the market. We want to deliver productivity matched with equal safety to all the customers.

What are your expansion plans?

Right now we are only distributing in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah and we are looking at Ras Al Khaimah in the near future.

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