Convoy? Toyota's Hino to Join Forces With Volkswagen's Truck Unit

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
convoy toyotas hino to join forces with volkswagens truck unit

Volkswagen AG and Toyota Motor Corp are forming a truck-based alliance, allegedly to cut R&D costs. While the two automakers joust for the title of biggest in the world, their trucking arms must have had a rough 2017 to necessitate an alliance solely on the grounds to limit development expenditures… right?

Not exactly. Volkswagen Truck & Bus actually had a really good year. Strong sales pushed revenues up 12.1 percent, and operating profits before special items increased by 26.8 percent (for over $2.41 billion). Meanwhile, Toyota’s Hino saw operating profits improve by 21.5 percent. So why bother with the alliance of both truck builders saw strong returns based on their respective sizes?

Like car builders, commercial vehicle manufacturers are seeing elevated costs due to the development of lower-emission powertrains and automated technologies. However, both of these truck units have parent companies with very deep pockets and didn’t fare terribly after accounting for last year’s R&D expenditures, so another reason for the team-up could have something to do with achieving global domination by joining forces with a business that doesn’t compete in the same region.

VW Truck & Bus moved over 200,000 units last year, while the smaller Hino delivered about 170,000. But the important part of the equation is that the divisions did so without much market overlap. VW operates primarily out of Europe and South America, where its MAN and Scania brands dominate. While Hino also does a little bit of business in South America, the majority of its sales are spread across Asia, the United States, and Canada.

According to Reuters, the companies announced Thursday that they will consider cooperating in areas such as diesel and gasoline-electric hybrid engines, vehicle connectivity, and self-driving technologies. They also suggested that the combined output could offer economies of scale in research and development as well as procurement.

“We can join forces and spend R&D money only once instead of twice or three times,” explained Volkswagen Truck & Bus CEO Andreas Renschler in Tokyo this week. “We see potential to save on our budgets and also to combine our resources to be faster at bringing products to market than we would be alone.”

Look out, Daimler Trucks, AB Volvo, Paccar, and Mitsubishi Fuso Truck & Bus Corporation. Hino and Volkswagen Truck & Bus are coming for you through shared resources and fiscal conservation. We’re on pins and needles, frankly.

Join the conversation
  • Twyxx Twyxx on Apr 13, 2018

    So how does Navistar/International Trucks fit in with all of this? Last I heard, VW owned 16%, with rumors of a complete takeover.

    • See 2 previous
    • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Apr 14, 2018

      @EquipmentJunkie Toyota/Hino also has more advanced EV technology for trucks. Remember VW wants this technology and is willing to pay for it.

  • Vulpine Regretfully, rather boring. Nothing truly unique, though the M715 is a real eye-grabber.
  • Parkave231 This counts for the Rare Rides installment on the Fox Cougar and Fox Thunderbird too, right? Don't want to ever have to revisit those......(They should have just called them Monarch/Marquis and Granada/LTD II and everything would have been fine.)
  • DM335 The 1983 Thunderbird and Cougar were introduced later than the rest of the 1983 models. If I recall correctly, the first models arrived in January or February 1983. I'm not sure when they were unveiled, but that would explain why the full-line brochures for Ford and Mercury were missing the Thunderbird and Cougar--at least the first version printed.The 1980 Cougar XR-7 had the same 108.4 inch wheelbase as the 1980 Thunderbird. The Cougar coupe, sedan and wagon had the shorter wheelbase, as did the Ford Granada.
  • Ehaase 1980-1982 Cougar XR-7 shared its wheelbase and body with the Thunderbird. I think the Cougar name was used for the 1977 and 1981 sedans, regular coupe and wagons (1977 and 1982 only) in an effort to replicate Oldsmobile's success using the Cutlass name on all its intermediates, although I wonder why Ford bothered, as the Granada/Cougar were replaced by the Fox LTD/Marquis in 1983.
  • Ken Accomando The Mark VIII was actually designed before the aero Bird, but FMC was nervous about the huge change in design, so it followed the Thunderbird a year. Remember, at this time, the 1983 Thunderbird was the first new aero Ford, with the Tempo soon following. It seems so obvious now but Ford was concerned if their buyers would accept the new aero look! To get the Lincoln buyers warmed up, they also debuted for the 1982 auto show season the Lincoln Concept 90…which really previewed the new Mark VII. Also, the new 1983 Thunderbird and Cougar debuted a little late, in Nov 1982, so perhaps that’s why they were left out of the full line brochures.