In an era of high tech electronics, it is interesting to note Toyota South Africa Trucks' approach toward the incorporation of 'selective' electronics and other high-tech features on its new Hino 700 Series.
"We could have brought in all the bells and whistles available on the international markets. However, we want our customers to determine their own needs rather than force on them our own desires. As such, we have not gone the full high tech route where electronics dominate. Instead, we have selected electronics for engine management and diagnostic capabilities while maintaining a modicum of basic mechanical elements of traditional engineering functions," says André Venter, senior manager, truck marketing for Toyota SA.
A typical example of this philosophy in action was the decision whether or not to spec ABS as standard fitment to the Hino 700 Series models or to offer it as an option.
"We know that many trucks - including our own Dyna at the bottom end - are being brought in with ABS as standard and we do not deny its safety advantages. However, in the distribution logistics arena as well as in the long haul sector at which we are focussing the new Hino 700 trucks, it is a well-known fact that a major problem lies in the compatibility of modern braking systems fitted to the latest truck tractors when matched to the old trailers in operation.
This is a serious concern for many operators and we have taken this into account. So instead of adding on an extra cost factor for a feature our customer may not want, we have left ABS as an option depending on the customer's trailer fleet and operating requirements," says Venter.
Arrangements with WABCO have been put in place for aftermarket fitment should the customer require it. "Instead of forcing technology onto the customer, we are leaving it in the customer's hands as an option where applicable. Should the customer want it - whatever it is - we can get it."
According to Venter, this principle of applicable technology to cater to customers need is structured around Toyota SA Trucks' firm belief that you cannot just accept what is being offered overseas and merely bring it in here.
"While there are still other options available to us, we will ensure we use the right of choice in the best interests of our customers," he says.