Hino Motors to Buy Marion Site for Auto Parts Plant

Gov. Mike Huckabee on Wednesday announced that Japanese auto parts maker Hino Motors Ltd. will buy a site in Marion to build a plant and make parts for Toyota.

The governor's office and economic development officials did not release details about the number of workers the plant will employ, the size of the facility or when construction will begin at the site, located near the southwest corner of Red Cross and Kuhn roads. Huckabee said economic development officials will give those details at a groundbreaking event for the plant this summer, though he did not give a specific time.

Hino Motors develops, manufactures and markets diesel trucks and buses. It is partially owned by Toyota Motor Corp., which considered Marion as the site for one of its truck manufacturing plants in 2003, but ultimately chose San Antonio.

Toyota also owns part of Denso Corp. of Kariya, Japan, which last year selected Osceola as the home for a $35 million manufacturing facility that will employ 500. Denso, an international automotive components giant, will produce car air conditioners and heavy equipment radiators for its North American clients. Its 217,000-SF plant is expected to reach full production and employment by 2008.

Hino, which became a Toyota subsidiary in August 2001, has two plants in the United States in Corona, Calif., and Orangeburg, N.Y.

"We are delighted to welcome Hino to Marion," Marion Mayor Frank Fogleman said. "The company will be a huge asset to the community and will provide quality jobs to the citizens of Crittenden County.

"It has taken a great deal of cooperation among the federal, state and local governments over the past year to bring this project to reality, and this is a proud and exciting day for Marion and its neighbors."

On Tuesday, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette cited sources inside the state's economic development office who said that Hino Motors would build the truck parts plant in the Crittenden County city.

Meanwhile, sources close to the office told Arkansasbusiness.com that Hino would employ about 500 workers. Others suggested the plant might hire as many as 2,000 people.

Economic development officials were unavailable for further comment.