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September 28, 2017 2:00 PM, EDT

Hino to Build Classes 7-8 Truck In New Manufacturing Plant in West Virginia

Hino truck Medium-duty Hino truck by John Sommers II for Transport Topics

Hino Motors plans to produce a new line of heavy-duty Classes 7-8 trucks for sale in the United States and will invest $100 million to build a truck assembly plant in West Virginia.

Hino currently assembles medium-duty trucks in Williamstown, W.Va., and those operations will be moved into a new plant on the site of a former distribution center in Mineral Wells.

“The new plant, which is four times the size of our current plant, will allow us to combine several assembly operations under one roof, which will provide significant efficiency gains,” said Takashi Ono, president of Hino Motors Manufacturing USA.

At a press conference Sept. 27, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice thanked Hino for its decision to keep its truck manufacturing operations in Wood County, which is situated along the state’s northwestern border with Ohio. “The new plant demonstrates that Hino has confidence in our state,” he said.

Hino officials said they expect the facility to create about 250 jobs with a two-shift operation beginning in early 2020. Some cab assembly operations in Japan also will be moved into the plant when it opens in 2019, company officials said.

Hino’s new line of heavy-duty trucks will be offered in a straight truck and a tractor configuration and will be powered by its A09 9-liter diesel engine with a horsepower range from 300 to 360 hp. The truck will debut at the 2018 NTEA Work Truck Show, Hino officials said.

“These are truly exciting times for Hino in the U.S.,” Hino North America Yoshinori Noguchi said. “Our growth and customer acceptance in the Class 4-7 market are enabling us to introduce wider variety of products.”

Hino, which is owned by Toyota Group, is the largest manufacturer of medium- and heavy-duty trucks in Japan. It also makes buses and diesel engines, Toyota’s FJ Cruiser and Land Cruiser Prado vehicles.

In the United States, Hino has a 5.4% share of the market for Classes 4-7 medium-duty trucks with sales of 11,220 vehicles in 2016.

The company’s Williamstown plant produces Classes 6- 7 medium-duty trucks and specialized vehicles. It opened in 2007 and produced its 50,000th vehicle in 2015.

Hino also operates a plant in Marion, Ark., that manufactures axles, knuckles and suspension components for Toyota’s Tacoma, Tundra and Sequoia vehicles. The company also maintains parts distribution centers in Mira Loma, Calif., and Gahanna, Ohio.

Hino also is in the process of building a new U.S. headquarters in Novi, Mich. The $20 million project will provide space for personnel involved in sales, marketing, service, engineering, purchasing and manufacturing in the United States.