Hino Trucks, a Toyota Group Co., is celebrating 30 years in the medium-duty truck business here in the U.S. It now has more than 200 dealers across the country. Hino Trucks has offered commercial trucks from Class 4 to Class 7 products, the most popular being the Class 5 COE (cab over engine) regular and double-cab models; they even come in regular diesel and diesel hybrid configurations.
The COE trucks have been in PickupTrucks.com news for several years because of their 5.0-liter inline-four-cylinder hybrid powertrain technology that some predicted would be made available in the redesigned 2014 Tundra. A Hino 8.0-liter inline-six-cylinder powertrain was under the hood of the popular pickup truck concept, the Tundra Dually Diesel CrewMax, from 2007 and garnered a boat-load of attention at the Specialty Equipment Market Association Show. Unfortunately, the big concept truck's timing could not have been worse as pickup sales (and the economy) over the next few years went from bad to worse.
Although no confirmation has come from Toyota, rumors are flying about the truckmaker possibly using the same Cummins turbo-diesel 5.0-liter V-8 that will show up in the coming 2016 Nissan Titan. "Borrowing" the Cummins does seem slightly odd given the variety of Hino diesel engines the full-size pickup could use, which makes us think other drivability issues may be biggest problem, namely finding a six- or eight-speed automatic transmission strong and smooth enough to deal with the torque-growing payload and towing requirements. Either way, it will be interesting to see if Tundra (or Tacoma) decide to leverage some of the Hino powertrain credibility (hybrid or not) to meet the more aggressive upcoming EPA fuel-economy targets.
To read the full Hino press release, click here.
Manufacturer images; Cars.com photo by Mike Levine