Toyota's Hino To End California Truck Production
Thu, 04/17/2008 - 5:35am
TOKYO (AP) -- Toyota subsidiary Hino Motors Ltd. will stop making commercial trucks at one of its U.S. plants as surging oil prices and the U.S. credit crisis squelch demand, a company spokesman said Thursday.
Truck production at TABC Inc., a Toyota parts maker in Long Beach, Calif., that has an assembly line for Hino trucks, will be moved to Hino's other U.S. plant in West Virginia by July, Hino spokesman Hidenobu Tezuka said.
Hino produced 4,800 trucks at the California plant in the fiscal year that ended March 31. That plant will continue to make parts for Toyota.
Hino's Williamstown, W.Va., plant has an annual production capacity of 2,500 vehicles but it produced only 300 trucks in the last fiscal year, according to Hino.
Hino has a third North American plant, in Ontario, Canada, which produced 1,300 trucks over the same span.
By abandoning California production, Hino's annual production capacity in North America will dip to 4,500 trucks a year from 9,500.
Hino's North American sales for the last fiscal year dropped 19 percent to about 6,600 trucks from 8,200 trucks the previous year, battered by soaring fuel prices and an economic slowdown set off the subprime mortgage problem.
Hino sales have been booming elsewhere in the world, including Southeast Asia, South America and the Middle East, but the U.S. market has been a sore spot, according to Tezuka.
Hino is 50.11 percent owned by Toyota Motor Corp., Japan's No. 1 automaker.