IT'S OFFICIAL! - $8.6 Mil Truck Plant Locating At Williamstown

It's official, the first vehicle assembly plant in West Virginia will be built in Williamstown - Toyota truck affiliate Hino Motors.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller and Gov. Joe Manchin joined Hideichiro Chikahiro, president of Hino Motors Manufacturing U.S.A. Inc. to announce Hino will assemble medium and heavy-duty trucks at the closed Walker Systems plant.

The plant will build about 2,500 trucks annually.

The company said it will invest $8.6 million to upgrade the now-vacant plant and install manufacturing equipment.

Hino said that when operations begin in November, the 194,000-square-foot plant will employ about 80 people.

Walker once employed 300.

Rockefeller, who was instrumental in bringing a Toyota engine plant to Buffalo in Putnam County 11 years ago, said that he is incredibly proud to have helped bring Hino Motors to the state.

The West Virginia Economic Development Authority, which is the state agency that finances economic development projects, approved an equipment lease for Hino.

The lease provides the company with the equipment it needs without Hino having to pay property tax.

The cost of the equipment was not to exceed $5 million. The term to pay for the equipment is not to exceed 15 years.

The authority also approved the purchase of 11.8 acres of land adjacent to the Walker Systems plant that Hino might someday use for expansion. The purchase price is not to exceed $1.2 million.

Manchin said the plant's location beside I-79 puts delivery within overnight shipping distance of more than half of the United States population.