Hino Team Sugawara Praises the Allison Fully Automatic Transmission

TOKYO, April 28, 2020 – Hino Team Sugawara competed in the truck division of the Dakar Rally 2020, one of the world's toughest off-road races. This time, the rally was held in Saudi Arabia over 12 stages from January 5-17, 2020.

Hino Team Sugawara is a joint team formed by Hino Motors and Japan Racing Management to race in the Dakar Rally. In early 2019, the team reorganized to aim for greater heights under team director, Teruhito Sugawara. Two Hino trucks were produced for the 2020 Dakar Rally: “Car 1” with a manual transmission and, to improve its performance in rugged and desert terrain, “Car 2” was equipped with an Allison 3200® automatic transmission. “Car 2” was based on HINO 600 series truck, exclusively designed for the North American truck market. The “Car 2” team included off road driver Mr. Ikuo Hanawa, navigator Mr. Yudai Hanawa and mechanic Ms. Mayumi Kezuka. The team was well prepared to race aggressively in the rally.

Mr. Ikuo Hanawa is a well-known global off-road racer. In over 40 years of off-road racing, he posted 100-plus wins and was also the first Japanese racer to place fifth in the 1991 BAJA 1000. He also became a class champion in 2002.

“Over the last 20 years, I have participated and won many races with vehicles equipped with automatic transmissions,” said Hanawa. “It is essential to have an automatic transmission as it provides you with a powerful acceleration and durability in tough off-road races. I was able to drive with confidence as “Car 2” was equipped with the Allison 3200® automatic transmission.

“A manual-equipped vehicle will cause a slow down during a race as the traction power is interrupted during a shift change,” said Hanawa. “But, with the Allison automatic transmission, the traction power is uninterrupted regardless of the driving conditions and drivers can accelerate and decelerate the speed as they like.”

The Allison 3200® fully automatic transmission utilizes a patented torque converter as a launching device, offering superior performance and eliminating clutch replacements. Its Continuous Power Technology™ allows engine torque multiplication at launch and uninterrupted power delivery to the wheels. As a result, vehicles equipped with Allison Automatics not only accelerate faster, they are more efficient within the best duty-cycle speeds and achieves optimal maneuvering in either confined city spaces or in rough desert terrain.

“During off-road racing, the vehicle sometimes flies into the air while negotiating rough terrain. At this crucial time, the driver must brake to shift down and prepare for landing,” said Hanawa. “Upon impact of landing, even if the tires push the transmission backward, the torque converter absorbs the impact and reduces the torsional on the propeller shaft preventing the transmission housing from cracking.

“Previously, controlling the transmission oil temperature was one of the most important factors in the durability of an automatic transmission,” said Hanawa. “Surprisingly, the Allison automatic transmission with integral oil cooler can maintain the oil temperature at around 82 to 83 degrees Celsius under high ambient temperatures and tough road conditions. Thanks to this cooling  performance, I was able to drive in tough conditions without any worries.” He also emphasized that automatic transmissions do not need to shift gears and clutches, which enabled drivers to grip firmly on  the steering wheel and concentrate on racing.

“We are very pleased to have collaborated with Hino Team Sugawara to put our transmission to this ultimate test of durability and reliability in the Dakar Rally 2020. Through the race, the Team has proven that the Allison automatic transmission is reliable and durable under the most severe conditions,” said Ashwin Gopalaswamy, President Allison Transmission Japan. “We will continue to provide superior products and solutions for the commercial truck market. Many thanks to Hino Team Sugawara for sharing their experiences. We will continue to support their racing legacy.”

Apr 28, 2020


Allison Transmission (NYSE: ALSN) is a leading designer and manufacturer of vehicle propulsion solutions for commercial and defense vehicles, the largest global manufacturer of medium- and heavy-duty fully automatic transmissions, and a leader in electrified propulsion systems that Improve the Way the World Works. Allison products are used in a wide variety of applications, including on-highway trucks (distribution, refuse, construction, fire and emergency), buses (school, transit and coach), motorhomes, off-highway vehicles and equipment (energy, mining and construction applications) and defense vehicles (tactical wheeled and tracked). Founded in 1915, the company is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. With a presence in more than 150 countries, Allison has regional headquarters in the Netherlands, China and Brazil, manufacturing facilities in the USA, Hungary and India, as well as global engineering resources, including electrification engineering centers in Indianapolis, Indiana, Auburn Hills, Michigan and London in the United Kingdom. Allison also has more than 1,400 independent distributor and dealer locations worldwide. For more information, visit allisontransmission.com.