Hino Motors sees growth

WILLIAMSTOWN – With an increase in sales and a number of business and other partnerships, Hino Motors Manufacturing USA is experiencing growth, officials said.

“I have been told that Hino, which we are all so proud of in Williamstown, will soon be making even more trucks with plans to possibly hire more people,” said Williamstown Mayor Jean Ford to the Rotary Club of Parkersburg during her speech on Monday. “Hino is our greatest asset in Williamstown and we are so excited for their success.”

There are plans for the plant, on Hino Way off of West Virginia 14 in Williamstown, to increase production from an average of 33 trucks a day, five-days-a-week, to 38 trucks a day, according to Sandy Ring, general manager of external and legal affairs for Hino at the main office in Farmington Hills, Mich.

This growth is significantly higher from the 2011 low of 20 trucks a day, which was increased to a high of 40 trucks a day in 2012.

The low was because the plant, along with many other Japanese car and truck manufacturing plants throughout the United States, was playing catch-up from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan that led to a shortage of parts needed for the building of vehicles.

“Post-earthquake-tsunami, Hino’s production volumes varied widely, primarily due to market demand,” said Ring. “More recently, demand has stabilized.”

This stabilization of Hino truck sales is, in part, thanks to companies and other organizations having chosen to use the vehicles. One such company is Penske Truck Leasing, which in February celebrated taking ownership of the Williamstown plant’s 10,000th truck with top management from Hino and Penske Truck Leasing in attendance at the facility.

This 10,000th truck is one of Hino’s 2015 268A models, which is part of the Toyota sister company’s award winning line-up that is specifically well-suited for the lease and rental market, officials said. It has become part of the PTL truck leasing and rental fleet of which Penske has been using Hino vehicles since 2004.

“This major milestone began in 2004 when PTL received its first Hino 268 truck,” said Hino Trucks President and CEO Yoshinori Noguchi. “We are proud of our longstanding partnership with PTL and the delivery of our 10,000th Hino truck, a significant accomplishment for both companies.”

The news of hiring new team members is welcomed by the local community, as Ford said, after Hino laid off an undisclosed number of temporary employees early last year after sales declined.

Sales picked up as 2013 continued and Hino finished the calendar year with a record 7,386 retail sales through a dealership network of 207 locations.

“The (increase in production) is a result of very favorable customer response to our new model year 2015 truck, although Hino believes mid-term demand will remain relatively consistent,” Ring said.