WILLIAMSTOWN - The state of West Virginia will buy 79 more Hino trucks made at the Hino Motors Manufacturing USA plant in Williamstown.
Mike Matheny of Matheny Motors in Parkersburg, a Hino dealer, announced the purchase Friday morning at the assembly plant where the state took possession of 40 heavy-duty Hino dump trucks the state purchased in August. Matheny is the only authorized Hino dealer in West Virginia.
"Our 125 Matheny employees are proud that the state of West Virginia has given us this opportunity," Matheny said. "These trucks will give the state reliable service for years to come."
The state of West Virginia will buy 79 more Hino trucks made at the Hino Motors Manufacturing USA plant in Williamstown. Celebrating are, from left, Matheny Motors President Tim Matheny, Gov. Joe Manchin, Matheny Motors C.E.O. Mike Matheny, and U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. (Photos by Jolene Craig)
Attending the announcement were Gov. Joe Manchin, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., President Yasuo Tanigawa of Hino Motors Manufacturing and West Virginia Secretary of Transportation Paul Mattox Jr. In January 2008, Mattox toured the plant last to determine whether the truck meets state needs.
The Williamstown plant has been working on the trucks since the August announcement that the company and local truck dealer Matheny Motors had been successful in winning the contract to provide the state's newest vehicles.
Randy Huffman, secretary of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, said the engines of these new trucks produce cleaner emissions.
"Through the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, we purchased 10 of these trucks," Huffman said.
One truck will be sent to each of the 10 West Virginia highway districts statewide and replace older, less fuel-efficient and less environmentally clean vehicles. Those older trucks will be decomissioned.
"To have a company in West Virginia leading the charge on that ... statistics say they're able to reduce the emissions," Manchin said. "It's the future of where the truck industry should be going."
The state has been interested in adding the vehicles to its fleet since the Williamstown facility opened in the 194,000-square-foot former Walker Systems facility in Williamstown in 2007.
"When we first brought in Hino in 2007, we immediately started talks about getting Hino trucks on our roads," Manchin said.
Integrating the Hino trucks into the state's fleet is significant because the Hino facility on W.Va. 14 is the first vehicle assembly plant in West Virginia.
"Nothing works in West Virginia without good purpose, good leadership and good people to do the work," Rockefeller said.
Manchin said that while the state wanted state-made trucks to be purchased and used by the state, it wasn't just an instance of signing paperwork.
"We have a very rigorous and stringent bid process and Hino made it through with flying colors," Manchin said. "These bids were won in a very competitive process."
Manchin also mentioned Hino as an example of economic growth in the state.
"I truly believe this is the tip of the iceburg," he said. "Mike Matheny mentioned the other 79 trucks and there will be many more in the future."
Since the Japanese company, which has its American headquarters in Michigan, acquired the Williamstown facility in July 2007, Hino has invested about $15 million in the building and equipment and produces more than 2,500 trucks annually.
Joe Chronley, general manager of the Williamstown Hino plant, said there are 93 full-time employees at the plant who build 10 trucks a day and plan to expand to 12 trucks a day in the second half of the fiscal year.
"We make almost 280 models," Chronley said.