The history of Hino is rooted in the Tokyo Gas Industry Company, founded in 1910. The new enterprise built equipment for gas street lighting. The company’s affairs were very mediocre, until in 1912 its competitors acquired and liquidated the main client of the company. To stay afloat, the management of Tokyo Gas Industry was forced to look for new areas of activity.
So the company began to deal with electric lighting and components, changing its name to Tokyo Gas and Electric Industry (TG&E). In 1917, in the wake of the popularity of automobiles, the company built a new plant, where, in addition to gas and electric equipment, the production of the TGE “A-Type” truck was established.
This car was the first Japanese truck, and the company received a lucrative order from the Japanese army, which required road transport. In 1922, the production of the modernized TG-E G-Type begins, in the 1930th two new models appeared. The TG-E N-Type becomes the first Japanese three-axle truck. In the same year, TG&E builds its first bus on freight units.
From trucks to marine diesels
In 1937, the company joined forces with Tokyo Automobile Industry Co, while remaining the main holder of shares, and, passing under partial state control, almost completely focused on military orders. With the expansion of the production of diesel engines for trucks, the company changes its name to Diesel Motor Industry Co in 1941. The center of production is a plant in one of the suburbs of Tokyo - the town of Hino. The plant produces a wide range of trucks under the Isuzu brand. In 1942, the production of marine diesel engines was mastered, for which a separate unit was formed with the name Hino Heavy Industry. So the paths of future Hino and Isuzu diverge.
After the war, under the influence of a ban on the production of heavy marine diesel engines, the company again returned to its roots - to the cargo topic. In 1946, the first Japanese post-war T10 tractor was launched, already under the Hino brand.
A year later, the first trailer-type bus appears, and by 1950 the company was developing the production of heavy vehicles of different carrying capacities, which were so necessary for the post-war reconstruction of the country.
In the mid-1950s, the company also made an unsuccessful attempt to enter the passenger market. For starters, Renault bought a license to manufacture the 4CV model. In collaboration with Renault specialists, the Japanese managed to quickly create their own models. The attractive Hino Contessa passenger car and the Hino Briska created using its nodes turned out to be quite successful models for the debut. Both cars were produced since 1961 and, thanks to good sales, quickly fell into the focus of larger competitors from Japan.
In 1966, the Hino passenger line was purchased by Toyota. Since the Contessa was not a very successful machine that used too many French parts, and even with the rear-engine layout, Toyota decided to abandon it. But the Briska pickup turned out to be a very interesting model, and Toyota continued its production, updating the design a bit and adding its own engines.
Under the name Toyota RN10 (later RN20 and SR-5), it remained in production without significant changes until 1978 - the same rear-wheel drive and front link suspension, and production was still carried out at Hino plants.
Under the wing of Toyota.
The two Japanese auto giants have been inextricably linked since the 1960s, but for a long time Toyota tried to maintain maximum independence for the Hino. By the early 2000s, the market posed a new interesting challenge for Hino engineers. The growing popularity of hybrid power plants led to an invasion of the cargo sector. In order to meet the demands of the times and create a hybrid truck, Hino is fully part of Toyota Corporation. Already in 2003, a new Hino model appeared on the market - the Dutro Hybrid, whose power unit, created with the help of Toyota and DENSO engineers, fully complies with the new environmental standards adopted in Japan.
Today, Hino produces a wide range of commercial freight and passenger transport and is in a leading position not only in Japan but also in the world. In addition to standard trucks, the company produces hybrid trucks and buses. In 2013, the company presented to the public a fully electric HINO PONCHO EV bus. The development of new technologies is a priority for Hino, and DENSO specialists who design and build electrical components actively help in this process. Naturally, the range of DENSO spare parts for commercial vehicles is by no means limited to the offer for HINO.