Hino Motors, the leading Japanese truck maker, recently started construction of a new plant in Koga City, which will focus on producing components and knocked-down (KD) kits for assembly at overseas faculties. The initial investment in the new plant is R5bn, with R3bn set aside for the KD plant itself.
The plant is due to be operational in the second quarter of 2012. This new site was chosen because there is no more space for expansion at the factories next to Hino’s head office near Tokyo. The plan is to expand the new plant over the years to include the assembly of medium and heavy duty trucks as well as the production of key components.
The final objective is to move all medium and heavy truck production to the Koga plant by 2020. The new plant will play an important role in supporting Hino’s planned increase in production and supply, which aims to grow mainly in global markets to achieve annual sales of 230 000 units by the middle of the current decade.
Initially Hino will manufacture a wide number of products in comparatively small quantities far more efficiently than in the past. The Koga plant will also serve as a mother factory which will transfer new technologies and skills to other Hino Motors plants in the world, including the facility at Prospecton, near Durban.
While increasing the efficiency of its production supply system in Japan, Hino will promote the construction of regional core production bases, firstly in other parts of Asia, namely, Thailand and Indonesia, to assist in boosting outputs overseas as a first step to an optimised global production system.
Hino currently operates three other plants in Japan – the Hino plant, near Tokyo, which started production in 1942, the Hamura plant, also in Tokyo, which dates back to 1983, and the Nitta plant in Gunma, which was built in 1980. Together these three facilities employ almost 9 000 people.
Building vehicles under contract for Toyota, which now holds 51% of the shares in Hino Motors, continues to be a significant part of the truck maker’s business. Contract assembly began in the 1970s and it built all the HIluxes in Japan before production was moved to overseas plants in 2005. Currently Hino builds the FJ Cruiser and Dyna for Toyota.