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No stranger: Takashi ‘Sam’ Suda served as a director of Toyota Australia from 2007 to 2011, and most recently was general manager of Hino’s Asia and Oceania division, based in Japan.

HINO Australia has announced the appointment of Takashi ‘Sam’ Suda as its new president and chief operating officer, replacing Shunichi ‘Sean’ Takahashi who has returned to Japan after five years in the role.

Mr Suda is acknowledged as an automotive and truck industry stalwart, with more than three decades’ experience at Hino and Toyota – including a four-year stint in Australia.

“With a career that spans 36 years at Hino and its parent company Toyota, including senior management roles in Australia and America, Sam is well positioned to join the Hino Australia leadership team,” said Hino Australia chairman and chief executive Steve Lotter.

“Sam has well-rounded experience in many areas of the business, and is already familiar with the Australian trucking industry, joining Hino Australia from Hino Motors in Japan where he was the general manager – Asia and Oceania division.”

Other senior positions Mr Suda has held at Hino include senior vice-president of Hino Motor Sales USA and general manager of Hino Motors’ Middle East and South-East Asia department.

Notably, Mr Suda served as a director of Toyota Motor Corporation Australia from 2007 to 2011, following 24 years in a variety of senior positions with Toyota in Japan and Italy.

“I am thrilled to be back in Australia and to be officially joining the Hino Australia family,” he said.

“The strength of Hino Australia’s results in 2018 has given the business an excellent platform to begin the year on.

“I look forward to working with the team as we welcome new models, continue our single-minded focus on the customer and drive the business further.”

Hino launched its new-generation 500 Series Standard Cab medium-duty truck range last November, providing a final thrust for the Japanese brand’s sales volume that finished at 5646 units for the year – a rise of 17.1 per cent compared to 2017.

This maintained its position as the number-two truck brand in Australia, deferring only to the runaway and longstanding market leader Isuzu, which racked up a record 10,027 units last year (+12.7 per cent) – the first time a truck manufacturer has broken through the 10K barrier in Australia.

By Terry Martin

Takashi Suda and Steve Lotter