Japanese truck maker Hino Motors Ltd. (OTC: HINOF) won’t build any heavy-duty trucks in the U.S. and Canada until the end of September 2021. Its engines fail to meet greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards.
The decision last Wednesday by Hino’s board of directors in Japan came amid plans by its U.S. facility in Mineral Springs, West Virginia, to expand hiring for Class 7 and Class 8 truck production. The company announced a $40 million expansion and 250 new jobs in August 2019. According to Hino’s LinkedIn page, the company employs 604 workers.
Hino also is halting production at a plant in Woodstock, Ontario. Based in Novi, Michigan, Hino Motors Manufacturing USA Inc. has more than 240 U.S. dealers.
A subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM), Hino said three engines for North America — the A09C, J08E and J05E — did not meet 2021 U.S. Phase 2 Greenhouse Gas Emission and Fuel Efficiency regulations for commercial trucks. The engines will meet the standard by the end of September 2021, Hino said.
Restart in October 2021
“Vehicle production resumption and sales of vehicles containing new model year engines are expected in October 2021 in both the United States and Canada,” Hino said in a statement.
Hino spent $100 million relocating from Williamstown, West Virginia, where it had produced medium-duty trucks since 2007. The Mineral Springs plant has single-shift capacity to build 15,000 trucks a year.
Hino also makes axles and other components for large Toyota pickups and SUVs in the U.S. It was unclear how the suspension affected that work.
“Our goal is to take care of our team members and minimize the impact this situation may have on them,” Glenn Ellis, Hino senior vice president of customer experience, told FreightWaves.
Hino is a small player among heavy-duty truck makers, producing approximately 8,000 trucks in its current fiscal year compared with 17,000 in fiscal 2019.
Through November, Hino had sold 936 trucks in Class 7 and 24 in Class 8, according to WardsAuto.com. Hino’s 7,853 Classes 4-7 retail sales through November trailer the 12,616 retail sales a year earlier.
Hino is dwarfed by the likes of Daimler Trucks North America’s Freightliner brand and PACCAR Inc.’s (NASDAQ: PCAR) Kenworth and Peterbilt nameplates. Volvo Group’s Volvo Trucks North America and Mack brands and International models from Navistar International Corp. (NYSE: NAV) account for the vast majority of sales.
The production suspension is unrelated to Hino’s plans to use hydrogen-powered fuel cells from the Toyota Mirai passenger car for a Class 8 fuel cell truck it plans to demonstrate in the U.S. in 2021.