BANGKOK, NNA – Japan’s leading truck maker, Hino Motors Ltd. plans to establish a marketing, development and production center in Thailand, targeting the Southeast Asian market.
Hino, part of the Toyota Motor Corp. group, said Friday it would invest about 11. 5 billion yen ($105 million) to integrate parts of three factories in Thailand into a hub east of Bangkok, scheduled to begin operating in 2021.
The product planning division of Hino Motors Sales Thailand Ltd. will be also transferred to the new facility.
“We will be creating an organizational setup that will enable us to drive our business in a locally led manner,” Somchai Pleankaew, newly appointed president of Hino Motors Manufacturing Thailand Ltd., said in a statement.
Hino will start building the center in July on a 400,000-square-meter plot in the Bang Bo district of Samutprakarn Province. It will include a test-track.
The commercial vehicle maker plans to produce models for the Thai market first and export them to other emerging economies, starting in 2024.
It has so far shipped vehicles from Thailand to countries including Australia, Cambodia, India, Laos and Malaysia.
Hino has said it is seeking to achieve sustainable growth toward 2025 by targeting Thailand as one of its key consumer markets after Japan.
In Thailand, one-ton pickup trucks accounted for about 80 percent of 641,616 units in new commercial vehicle sales in 2018, according to industry data from Toyota Motor Thailand Co. Hino’s strength is in producing bigger trucks.
The Thai commercial vehicle market is dominated by Toyota and Isuzu Motors Ltd, each holding about a 30-percent share, while Hino has 2 percent, according to MarkLines, a Japanese auto industry information provider.