VIENNA, W.Va. — Hino Motors Manufacturing announced Wednesday it plans on expanding operations in Wood County, with plans centered around the purchase of the former Coldwater Creek distribution center in Mineral Wells and reconfiguration into a truck production facility.
Hino, which is owned by Toyota Motor Corp., will make a $100 million investment to the 962,000-square foot facility in hopes of making it operational by early 2019. Hino President Takashi Ono said this would result in the creation of up to 250 new jobs.
The subsidiary will close the current plant in Williamstown, but Ono said they will be able to maintain the staff of around 300 employees.
“We will continue to invest in new products and infrastructure to meet the growing needs of the U.S. truck market,” he said. “We will continue to invest in our team members.”
Production at the Williamstown facility began in July 2007.
West Virginia Secretary of Commerce Woody Thrasher said the tie between West Virginia and Japanese companies is important for creating manufacturing jobs in the state. Thrasher noted the state’s office in Nagoya, which was created in 1990 under then-Sen. Jay Rockefeller.
Thrasher also added he had taken a trip to Parkersburg and Japan earlier this year.
“No other state in the union has an office in Nagoya,” he mentioned. “We are unique in that regard.”
Gov. Jim Justice was scheduled to attend, but did not because, according to Thrasher, his daughter Jill, who is pregnant, had been hospitalized following a fall.
“When a prominent international company such as Hino chooses to expand its operations here in West Virginia, with a $100 million investment, it really speakers volumes for our state, our workforce and our future,” the governor said in a pre-written letter.
Staff members of U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., as well as Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., were also present at the announcement.
“Twelve years ago as Governor, I was honored to lead the team that brought Hino to our state, and I am so proud of this company and its team members,” Manchin said in a statement. “I have witnessed firsthand the determination of the entire Hino group to ensuring quality, teamwork and investment in our state. West Virginia is such a perfect location for business for many reasons, but most notably because of our people.”
Capito said in a press release Hino’s investment will do more than just create jobs in West Virginia.
“Not only will it make a real, tangible difference for Parkersburg and surrounding communities, but it also sends a strong signal that West Virginia is a great place to do business,” she said.
This is the second automotive announcement this week in West Virginia; Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia announced Tuesday a $115.3 million investment at its Buffalo facility for the production of hybrid transaxles.