Good news and positivity
When times are tough, friends are few. This belief does not apply to Hino South Africa and its relationship with the local farming community – at this year’s Nampo Harvest Day, the company’s quest was to give back to a sector that has been suffering
Hino’s vice president, Ernie Trautmann, is a man who likes positivity and good news, and so Hino partnered with two significant entities to spread a bit of goodness at the show. The first of these is agricultural organisation AgriBonus.
“AgriBonus looks after farmers’ interests, helping them to do things in the industry that, individually, they would not be able to do. We donate a percentage for every Hino and Dyna that is purchased by AgriBonus and MyBonus members to the AgriBonus loyalty programme. These members can then redeem this against products from other AgriBonus partners,” Trautmann explains.
The other partnership that came about for Nampo 2016 – but has both entities excited to carry on beyond the show – was with Mohau Community Care. The Mohau Group donated the 74 bales of lucerne you see adorning the trucks in the pictures, which were to be donated to local farmers in need.
Belinda Labuschagne, Mohau Group marketing manager, explains the motivation for making the donation: “We’ve gone through a very bad drought and there is a definite need for this; people call us on a daily basis and ask if we can deliver feed to them, because their animals are starving – and if there are no farmers, there is no food.
“When Hino’s Marius Cramer contacted us and said Hino would like to purchase the lucerne for Nampo to donate to farmers in need, we discussed it with Mohau Group MD Jannie Bezuidenhout and we thought it would be an excellent way to continue with Mohau Community Care, so we asked Hino to send the trucks and we filled them.”
“This is a very practical example of making a difference,” Trautmann adds. “It’s a good-news story, which the country needs; we need positivity.”
Interestingly, this is something Trautmann and his team noticed at Nampo. “There is still a lot of positivity among the people here,” he notes.
This was so much so that the vehicles on the brand’s stand attracted much attention – partly because of the variety of vehicles on display, and partly because the vehicles were carefully selected to show the greatest range of applications that could benefit farmers.
The first of these was, interestingly, the 300 Bus. “I have not seen many buses on show here, and visitors have been impressed by its quality. We can build buses with 25 to 65 seats through many of our partner bus-building operations,” Trautmann says.
A second type of passenger-transport vehicle that garnered a fair bit of attention was the 500 4×4 people carrier, designed to carry a large number of people into difficult areas.
The 300 Crew Cab, which was packed full of lucerne – 36 bales – demonstrated the ability of this model to safely carry a voluminous load and people. “It’s amazing to see how many bales you can fit on the back of that vehicle,” Trautmann exults.
Then there were the big guns – the 500 cattle truck (which was sold at the show), and a couple of 700 truck tractors. “We can provide for so many different applications, including the big, tough interlink trucks,” reiterates Trautmann.
Big and tough, though, is not the main buying criteria for a farming application. Simplicity, adaptability, cost of ownership and first-class support, are even more important.
“One of the biggest advantages that Hino has is that we know the farms are located in remote areas of the country … We have a large country, but we have 65 Hino dealers nationwide to provide support, so there should be one close to most farmers to provide parts, service or advice. We see this as one of our strengths,” says Trautmann.
“Then again, Hino is a simple-technology type of brand – farmers tend to stick to the more basic requirements; not many of them have to have the bells and whistles. When you are in a remote area, if your vehicle has too many features it can create issues. We like to interact with the people who visit us here because we get many ideas from the sector that we can take back and evolve into our future products.”
An interesting point raised by Trautmann is Hino’s willingness to adapt to different requirements and to work with a customer to provide a vehicle that meets unique needs. He says that being “practical people” is something that goes down well with farmers …
“For example, some of our trucks are running cattle in the Northern Cape area. The roads there are so bad that the stones actually damage the trucks quite badly. Working with a farmer, we designed a protective kit that we fit upfront to trucks we sell in that area,” he explains.
It’s easy to get a real sense of how Hino works to meet its customers’ needs when Trautmann introduces Sampie Swanepoel to the conversation, who’s visiting the show as a guest of the Boksburg-based Hino East Rand dealership.
Swanepoel runs Transvaal Heavy Transport (THT), a loyal Hino customer for the past 40 years and one that makes extensive use of the versatility provided by the Hino range of vehicles.
“Our business focus is diverse – from one-tonne bakkies to crane trucks to 120-t abnormal low beds. Among others, we service the construction, mining, manufacturing, steel and power industries with a fleet that is 90 percent Hino (including Toyota bakkies). The oldest Hino we have is a 1989 Hino Dolphin, which is still going strong with 1,5 million kilometres!” Swanepoel exclaims.
What is it about Hino that THT loves? “Hino vehicles offer durability, reliability and longevity. Those three things to us are the most important outcomes of our relationship with Hino. This also applies to the company’s aftersales and customer service and the how it looks after us. Hino is interested in our business and advises and assists us when we need it. In 40 years I’ve not had a problem with any aspect of Hino – the total Hino deal is first-class value,” he grins.
It’s not only long-standing customers who show interest at Nampo. Says Trautmann: “We’ve noticed how many emerging farmers are here. Their interest is explicit: they know what they want, they have the knowledge and they understand the industry. They ask serious questions and are serious buyers.”
This is certainly something that pleases Trautmann and the Hino team – it is, after all, a good sign that there is still some positivity in the agricultural sector.
“South Africans are quite resilient and Nampo is not about a specific season or year; it’s a long-term thing. It’s always an honour and privilege to be here. We’re fully committed to Nampo and to the agricultural sector,” he reiterates.
That’s some positivity that should make anyone feel good.