Hino Motors Manufacturing on Monday, Sept. 29, celebrated the official grand opening of its commercial truck assembly facility in Williamstown, W.Va., Hino’s first wholly-owned truck operation in the United States.
About 350 guests attended the event, which included an assembly line tour and exhibit of several customer-owned Hino trucks. Elected and business leaders offered congratulatory remarks, including West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin; Ambassador Motoatsu Sakurai, consul general of Japan; and Shoji Kondo, chairman of the board of Hino Motors Ltd. (Japan).
“Hino Motors Manufacturing has established an important presence in Wood County and the Mid-Ohio Valley, and we’re glad to have been a partner in that growth,” Manchin said. “We’ve watched Hino’s rapid growth with pleasure and look forward to a long and mutually rewarding working partnership.”
HMM-West Virginia assembles Class 4-7 commercial (straightline) trucks suited for truck leasing, residential/commercial moving, armored car service and beverage distribution. The plant started production in November 2007 and today employs about 105 full-time team members. HMM has invested more than $1.8 million in the West Virginia facility, plant and equipment to date.
“Hino very much appreciates the support it has received from the State and the surrounding local communities,” said Kondo, who flew in from Tokyo for the event. “Starting an operation with an empty building is a difficult task. We are fortunate to have good partners in government and the business community and, most importantly, a great group of team members.”
Hino announced several contributions to the area community. Yasuo Tanigawa, president of HMM, presented a diesel truck engine to Washington State Community College and a “practice training truck” to the Wood County Technical Center. Tanigawa explained that the intent of these contributions is to provide valuable education and skills training to local students – a critical component of Hino’s corporate social responsibility initiatives.
In addition to these donations, Kondo announced the establishment of a Hino college scholarship program, to be awarded annually to four local high school seniors in an amount up to $1,000 per year per student, for up to four academic years. The scholarship program will be administered by the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation.
At the close of the event, several of the dignitaries participated in a traditional Kagami Biraki ceremony, which involves breaking the top of a sake keg, to symbolize “an opening to harmony and good fortune.”