Isuzu set to build commercial trucks in Birmingham, Ala.

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Isuzu Manufacturing Services of America is expected to announce plans to build commercial trucks in Birmingham, Ala. The Birmingham News reported Saturday, Jan. 6, that the subsidiary of Tokyo-based Isuzu Motors Ltd. recently bought a large distribution center in the Pinson Valley area for nearly $8 million. The company plans to convert the 300,000-square-foot former Del Monte Corp. warehouse into a truck assembly plant that could employ up to 1,000 people within a few years, the News reported.

Birmingham Mayor Bernard Kincaid and Alabama Gov. Bob Riley have been in negotiations with Isuzu for several months, as have the city’s Metropolitan Development Board, the Alabama Development Office and Alabama Power Co., according to the newspaper. The project will quality for incentives from the city and the state based on the extent of Isuzu’s investment and the number of jobs to be created.

Isuzu — which has announced sales projections of 32,000 in 2006, up from 25,000 in 2005 — also operates a commercial truck assembly plant in Janesville, Wis., in a joint venture with General Motors. That plant builds fewer than 5,000 trucks per year. Most of the company’s vehicles sold in the United States are imported from Japan.