Staff from WA Hino in Perth were standout performers, with Thanh Nguyen winning the national service award and Stan Voltemar taking out the parts category.
Joel Ferrante, from Prestige Hino in Dandenong South in Melbourne’s outer south-east, secured the national sales award at the event, which brings together finalists who have won their way through a series of qualifying rounds held throughout the year.
Mr Nguyen finished ahead of Geoff Mallett from Adtrans Hino in New South Wales and Peter May from FRM Hino in Tasmania, while Mr Voltemar edged out Kara Green (Adtrans) and Ryan Macauley from CMI Hino in Adelaide.
Competition was equally fierce in the sales category, with Mr Ferrante holding out Bevan Joseph from City Hino in Guildford, NSW, and Shane Curtain from Sci-Fleet Hino in Queensland.
The national final sees the service technicians tested on their diagnostic, analytical and technical skills in a series of hypothetical exercises, while parts and sales contestants are put through roleplay scenarios and tested on relevant areas.
Parts interpreters are required to identify genuine and non-genuine parts, and sales staff are quizzed on their product knowledge.
Among the executives at the national final were Hino Motors senior managing officer Ichiro Hisada, general manager of Asia and Oceania Mitsuharu Tabata, deputy general manager of aftersales service division Kouichi Katou, and manager of parts operation division Kazuyoshi Konagaya.
Hino Australia chairman and CEO Steve Lotter and president and COO Shunichi (Sean) Takahashi were also on hand, with Mr Lotter acknowledging the commitment of contestants and the skills and expertise shown across the dealer network.
“Over the nine years we have changed the format to showcase this expertise, with this year being the fourth that sales consultants have been tested alongside service technicians and parts interpreters,” Mr Lotter said.
“Once again the contest was incredibly close, as it was throughout the qualifying rounds. I congratulate everyone who participated. It’s fantastic to see such commitment.
“At Hino our skilled dealer network is a key to providing exceptional customer service for our customers, and in building the trust the market has in our brand.
“That’s why this contest is very important to Hino; it has a very positive flow-on effect for everyone involved.”
This year’s event also included an ‘Australia versus New Zealand Service Challenge’ between the winner of New Zealand’s inaugural skills event, Heidi Inkster from Truckstops Wellington, and CMI Adelaide’s Asa Pearson, who is a previous winner of the Australian competition.
Each technician performed a series of repair and diagnostic tasks over 30 minutes, with the results tied at the end.
The three Australian winners will travel to Japan in October to watch the annual Hino Japan Skills Contest.
By Terry Martin