VLADIVOSTOK, RUSSIA – Hino Motors Ltd. is testing trucks that can withstand extreme cold in a bid to expand sales in the Russian market, company officials said Saturday.
Since late January, Hino Motors has been conducting testing in Magadan in Russia’s Far East — where the mercury can plunge to minus 50 degrees — and is planning to launch the cold-weather trucks around 2015.
“The purpose is to see how far they can run under the worst conditions,” a Hino Motors official said. “Even if the engine starts well, it may hit a snag on the way and we can discover problems during testing.”
Three trucks ranging from small to large have been shipped from Japan for the test runs. They have double-glazed windshields and insulated piping from the fuel tank to the engine, as well as a specially designed interior heating apparatus.
According to Hino Motors, an estimated 110,000 new trucks were sold in Russia last year, and around 60 percent of the market is controlled by domestic manufacturers.
Hino Motors is hoping to woo customers who need to deliver precision parts and food supplies by promoting the reliability of the “Japan-made” trucks.
Two other Japanese truck makers — Isuzu Motors Ltd. and Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corp. — are also attempting to expand their market share in Russia.
Honda to appeal L.A. case
Honda Motor Co. has said it plans to appeal a Los Angeles court ruling that ordered it to pay damages to an American woman who said her hybrid failed to deliver the advertised gas mileage.
While the woman, Heather Peters, had filed her case in a small-claims court, the appeals trial will be heard as an ordinary lawsuit, according to Honda, which said Thursday it will file the appeal by early March.
Peters, the owner of a 2006 Civic hybrid, said Honda’s advertisements claimed the car would get 21 km per liter, but that she only achieved less than 13 after the battery deteriorated. She demanded $10,000 (about ¥765,000) in compensation.
Honda argued that its mileage calculations were appropriate under the law, but the Los Angeles Superior Court ruled Wednesday in favor of Peters and ordered Honda to pay $9,867 in damages.