Until now, drivers of the medium duty 500 models had no option but to change gears the traditional way despite automated transmissions increasing in popularity each year.
Called the ProShift 6, the new transmission is an automated version of the six-speed manual gearbox that is available as standard. It is a two-pedal system, which means the driver does not need to operate the clutch to get going or when coming to a halt, as is the case with some automated gearboxes.
The automated transmission will be available with the best-selling FC 1022 and FD 1124 500 Series to start with, but Hino Australia plans to make it available on heavier hauling models over time.
Hino Australia product chief, Alex Stewart, says the company needed to offer an automated option given the strong demand in the lower capacity end of the medium duty market.
"Over the last five years there has been an absolutely obvious trend of sales going in the direction of fully automatic or automated manual transmissions," he says.
"If you do a projection of those figures you can see that by 2015, 50 per cent of all trucks sold will be automated manuals or full automatic.
If we didn't we would be missing out on a large section of the market." Stewart says not all customers are going to opt for the automated manual, despite its fuel economy advantages, because of a reduction in the gross combination mass (GCM), that is, the maximum weight of the truck, the load an the trailer.
"The FD 11-tonne truck has a GCM of 20 tonnes with a manual transmission, you put the automated manual in it and it has a GCM of 16 tonnes," explains Stewart. "That is pretty much normal for any manufacturer with an automated manual transmission."