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Hino Motors and Mitsubishi Fuso announce integration of operations

Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corp. trucks bound for shipment stand at a port in Yokohama, Japan, on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. President Donald Trump and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe touted a limited trade agreement on Wednesday, as the U.S. withdrew the threat of imposing auto tariffs on the Asian nation for now. Photographer: Akio Kon/Bloomberg

Hino Motors, a Toyota Motor group company, and Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus, majority-owned by Daimler Truck, will seek to merge their operations in order to better compete in the market for freight-hauling vehicles.

The four manufacturers signed a memorandum of understanding to bring Hino and Mitsubishi Fuso under a single company to be jointly owned by Toyota and Daimler Truck, they said in a statement Tuesday. They plan to sign an agreement by March 2024 and integrate the business by the end of the same year.

Hino Motors has been caught up in an emissions scandal since last year after misrepresenting data on engine tests for years, making it a major headache for Toyota, which owns just over 50% of the truck- and bus-maker. The deal would potentially give Daimler Truck the ability to tackle their margin improvement targets more aggressively, given that Mitubishi Fuso’s earnings have been a drag on profitability.

The new company combining Hino and Mitsubishi Fuso could bring in new management expertise and also help them save on purchasing costs and development. No figures for the potential deal were announced.

Hino and Mitsubishi Fuso “will work together to improve operational efficiencies, including in development and production, and hone the competitiveness of Japanese commercial vehicle manufacturers,” the firms said in the statement.

Global automakers are ramping up investment in connected, autonomous, shared and electric vehicles, known as CASE, to meet stricter emission rules and offer new vehicle services.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for a maker of commercial vehicles that sells fewer vehicles than traditional automakers to keep up with such trends on their own, Hino said.

At a news conference later on Tuesday, Toyota President Koji Sato said the four companies will cooperate in accelerating CASE technologies, while Hino President Satoshi Ogiso said developing CASE technologies by the company alone would be difficult.

Toyota is under increasing pressure from companies that are plowing headlong into fully electric cars such as Tesla and Chinese behemoth BYD.

Source: The Japan News