Hino unveils Wood County produced truck line
PARKERSBURG — Hino Motors introduced its new truck line — and by extension its new facility in Wood County — to the world this week at a major truck show in Indianapolis.
The Hino XL Series was unveiled Wednesday during the 2018 Work Truck Show, a premiere showcase for the industry. Wood County Economic Development Executive Director Lindsey Piersol attended to support the company investing $100 million in the former Coldwater Creek plant within Parkersburg city limits near Mineral Wells and to try to drum up interest among suppliers and related companies in coming to the area themselves.
“The Wood County Economic Development office and Hino have a wonderful relationship, and we look forward to seeing that relationship grow with the opening of their new plant in late 2018/early 2019,” Piersol said.
While she couldn’t disclose any specifics, Piersol said she did make in-roads with some companies that might have an interest in locating close to Hino’s facility, where renovations are now underway.
“The president of Hino was there, and he discussed the plant,” Piersol said.
Included in the presentation was an aerial picture of the 962,000-square-fot facility whose purchase Hino announced in September. Glen Ellis, vice president of customer experience for Hino, said the company wanted to show its growth in the United States.
“We’re very proud of the fact that we manufacture our trucks in the state of West Virginia,” he said. “It’s important that we promote our partnerships.”
Ellis said it seemed like everyone at the show attended the announcement.
“I really think the industry is excited that there’s a new player in that market space,” he said. “Energy was really high.”
In addition to expanding its Class 7 offerings, the XL Series represents Hino’s first foray into the heavy duty Class 8 trucks in North America, company officials say. They can be configured specifically for a variety of jobs and industries, Ellis said.
“Considering our remarkable success in Class 4-7 in North America, and our growing global presence in the Class 8 market, entering the North American heavy duty segment makes for the next logical step,” Hino Trucks North America President and CEO Yoshinori Noguchi said in a news release. “Not to mention our customers and our dealer network have been asking for this for some time.”
The release says the XL Series will add to Hino’s product portfolio while continuing to emphasize its strengths, including “industry-leading standard features, durability, reliability and ownership experience.”
Hiring for the first of a projected 250 jobs to be added to Hino’s local workforce is anticipated to start this summer, with production expected to start in January.