Toyota & Daimler Merging Hino & Mitsubishi Fuso Truck Brands

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

toyota daimler merging hino mitsubishi fuso truck brands

On Tuesday, Toyota Motor Corp. confirmed plans to merge its truck-making subsidiary Hino Motors with the rival Mitsubishi Fuso that’s owned by Daimler AG.

If you’re confused by the news, Mitsubishi only has a minority stake in the Fuso brand with Germany’s Daimler having owned 89 percent of the whole since the early 2000s. Meanwhile, Hino Motors has been wholly owned by Toyota Motor Corp. since 2001 and enjoyed a working partnership with Japan’s largest automaker since the 1960s.

Now, Fuso and parent Daimler Truck have signed a memorandum of understanding with Hino and parent Toyota. Their stated plan involved merging Hino and Fuso into a publicly-traded holding company with equal investments from both Toyota and Daimler Truck Holding AG.

While probably not the hottest news for automotive enthusiasts, it remains a massively important deal for anybody tracking the broader industry or who happens to have a penchant for flat-faced box trucks. Despite being ideal for hauling heavy loads in dense urban areas, and longer routes in a pinch, smaller box trucks have been losing ground to the likes of the Ford Transit and Mercedes Sprinter.

According to Automotive News, the newly partnered Hino Motors and Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corp. will be collaborating on commercial vehicle development, procurement, and production. Their stated goal is to become a "globally competitive" Japanese truck maker with an emphasis on serving Southeast Asia as the primary market.

From Automotive News:

"Behind this collaboration is our four companies' strong desire to create the future of commercial vehicles together," Toyota CEO Koji Sato said at a Tokyo news conference.
The shuffle comes as Toyota's Hino digs out of an embarrassing emission and fuel efficiency scandal and as Daimler looks to streamline its commercial truck holdings. Daimler separated its truck and car units in 2021 as part of a wider industry trend of spinning off commercial vehicles.
Nissan sold its truck subsidiary to Volvo in 2007, Volkswagen renamed its truck and bus unit Traton in 2018 and listed it on the Frankfurt and Stockholm stock exchanges the following year.
Hino fell into trouble in March 2022 with the revelation it had been falsifying emissions and fuel economy data dating as far as 2003. The scandal snowballed later that year when Hino said new problems were discovered in a light-duty engine, among revelations in other power plants.

Emissions issues are becoming incredibly difficult for manufacturers to contend with. But this has become especially true for commercial vehicles which need to keep costs and complexity down to help with fleet sales. As excited as some of the larger businesses seem to be about electrification, most small and middle-sized businesses tend to prefer basic vehicles that won’t break the bank — regardless of whether we’re talking about the initial investment or maintenance costs.

However, it sounds as though Toyota and Daimler want their truck division to chase down modern trends. Vehicle development is supposed to focus on achieving carbon neutrality and the duo claimed that Fuso and Hino would support the development of hydrogen, autonomous, connected, and electrified technologies.

"Simply put, the world is changing, and our industry needs to change with it," Mitsubishi Fuso CEO Karl Deppen stated.

Additional details of the merger are supposed to be decided over the next 18 months. The involved businesses want a definitive agreement in the first quarter of 2024 and for the deal to close by the end of next year. That means we’ll be getting updates on the corporate structure and a financial breakdown of who owns what. Assuming this is to be a complete merger, the joint trucking arm is also likely to need a new name — as Mitsubishi-Fuso-Hino is quite the mouthful.

Obviously, the deal could fall through before next year. But, with both brands having suffered trouble in recent years, it makes sense for their parent companies to chase down synergies in the hopes that it’ll yield something they can both profit from while sharing the investment burden.

[Image: Walter Eric Sy/Shutterstock]

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6 of 18 comments
  • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke on May 31, 2023

    Sounds anticompetitive. Or maybe Toyota wants to get out of the truck business rather than have to get involved in electrification?

    • See 3 previous
    • Jeff S Jeff S on Jun 01, 2023

      Alan--With Daimler merger you might see more Hinos and they could then be manufactured in Europe.

  • TheEndlessEnigma TheEndlessEnigma on May 31, 2023

    Another successful automotive company for Daimler to tear down. We all know how Chrysler was torn round two.

  • Pianoboy57 My family had the '71 1900 2dr hardtop. That car was sure a lot of fun. My brother wrecked it and Dad found another one w/o an engine. We spent the next year making one 1900 out of two.
  • Tassos Your title says FORD to offer blah blah, but on the photo there is a DAMNED KIA instead What gives?
  • Dukeisduke There were aftermarket ac/c systems for these - they used a plastic duct with vents that sat atop the transmission tunnel.
  • GrumpyOldMan I had a '73 for around 18 years. It had a foot operated windshield washer pump, four grease fittings (one on each each door hinge), and coil spring rear/transverse leaf front suspension. No trunk, but a good size luggage area behind the seats. Almost made it to 200K miles, but the tin worm got it.
  • Dukeisduke As far as I'm concerned, the jury's still out on the new Tacoma. I've read about too many new Tundras with mechanical problems like failed wastegates. I'm not confident these won't have similar teething problems. Toyota should just stay away from turbos.