WILLIAMSTOWN - Hino Motors Manufacturing USA in Williamstown is experiencing more growth following last year's production delays, officials said.
"We are currently building 34 trucks per day," said Steve Stalnaker, general manager of the plant. "That is a record for us."
Production has been ramped up to five-days-a-week, which is up from the three days of production with two days of team building for part of 2011.
Steve Stalnaker, general manager of Hino Motors Manufacturing USA Williamstown plant, speaks with Washington State Community College students in the plant on W.Va. 14 last month during a tour of the facility. (Photo provided)
Production was cut last year following the recovery of the earthquake and tsunami in March in Japan. The natural disasters caused a shortage of parts at Japanese car and truck manufacturing plants throughout the United States.
In December it was announced the plant would be increasing production. At 34 trucks per day, Sandy Ring, vice president and general counsel for Hino in its Michigan home office, said the team members are doing a "great job" with the task.
"It is a significant undertaking," Ring said.
The plant expects to increase production to 38 by the end of March, Stalnaker said.
"It's a challenge for us, but a good one that we love to have," he said.
To meet the increases, the plant has hired a few new employees and may hire a handful more, Stalnaker said. The plant emoploys about 200 workers.
Hino, which works with Manpower in Parkersburg on hiring, is heavily involved in the community. Last month, the plant welcomed a visit by officials and students with Washington State Community College in Marietta.
"Our team members take pride in showing off the plant and their work," Stalnaker said.
The visit included those in the Automotive Service Excellence Tech Prep program, which works closely with the Hino plant.
"Since the beginning of our operations in Williamstown in 2007, we have been deeply committed to being a responsible and reliable Mid-Ohio Valley corporate citizen," said Ring. "We have donated a combination of financial support, team member time, technical expertise, and Hino trucks, engines, and other equipment to a number of educational and charitable causes."
The causes that have received this support include: the Wood County Technical Center, Williamstown Elementary School's Partners in Education, Washington State Community College, Relay for Life and Adopt-a-Highway.
In 2008, Hino also launched a scholarship program administered by Our Community's Foundation.
"Community involvement is a hallmark of Hino," Ring said. "Indeed, it is an important pillar of Hino Japan's corporate credo. We believe these activities enrich not just the community, but our team members, too, take deep pride and joy in 'giving back' to their friends and neighbors."