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Toyota plans Ontario truck plant near Woodstock

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Toyota plans Ontario truck plant near Woodstock factory

Affiliate Hino Motors has ambitious growth targets

Christine Tierney / The Detroit News

Hino Motors Ltd., Toyota Motor Corp.'s truck-manufacturing affiliate, is expected to announce plans soon to build a small production facility in southwestern Ontario as part of its strategy to boost sales sharply in North America.

Hino will set up the facility near a $600 million auto assembly plant Toyota is building in Woodstock, Ontario, according to people familiar with the situation. The auto plant is scheduled to open in 2008.

Hino is the latest in a wave of Asian auto manufacturers that have invested billions of dollars in North America -- mostly in southern U.S. states, but also in Ontario -- to build vehicles locally.

Hino, 50.1 percent-owned by Toyota, began producing Class 4-7 trucks at a Toyota facility in Long Beach, Calif., in 2004. It expects to build 10,000 trucks a year in North America by 2007.

That is a tiny fraction of the roughly 1.6 million cars and light trucks that Toyota will be assembling in the region under the Toyota and Lexus brands, but the $10.5 billion Hino has ambitious growth targets.

The truck company plans to increase sales in North America fivefold -- from 6,000 in 2004 to 30,000 by the end of the decade, company officials said last year when they inaugurated Hino's new sales and service office in Farmington Hills.

"I see it like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon," said Michael Robinet, vice president at auto forecasting firm CSM Worldwide in Farmington Hills. "It'll take a while, but it'll spread its wings."

Hino officials did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Japanese and Canadian newspapers report that the facility is likely to be adjacent to the $600 million Woodstock plant scheduled to open in 2008 and that the truck production volumes will probably be small -- around 1,500 a year.

Toyota first began producing vehicles in Canada in 1989 at a plant in Cambridge, Ontario.

Hino sold 94,000 vehicles in its last fiscal year, an 80 percent increase from 2000 sales levels.

Link: http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/artic.../603030375/1148

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So that’s whats goin in next door.

A contractor I was chatting with told me that Toyota had asked him to do some setup work for a second plant which had be :huh: for a while

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