July 10, 2007
Chinese truck company to open assembly plant in Oklahoma
2008 Audi R8. Click image to enlarge
Poteau, Oklahoma – Tiger Truck, the exclusive importer and distributor for ChangAn Automobile Group, has announced the first assembly plant in the U.S. for the Chinese-designed trucks. ChangAn is China’s third-largest vehicle manufacturer, with manufacturing agreements in that country with Suzuki, Ford and Mazda. The first trucks will be delivered in early 2008.
Initially, nearly 80 per cent of the trucks manufactured in Oklahoma will be for export, primarily to Mexico and South America. The Poteau facility will assemble two new truck platforms. The Champ, available in a 2- or 4-door crew cab, is a full-size pickup truck similar in appearance to a half-ton but with over 3,000 lb capacity, which will be sold to the Canadian and U.S. off-road market; another version of the platform, the Leopard, will be configured with a diesel engine and dual rear wheels, for export only. In mid-2008, a second platform of medium-duty trucks will be added, with GVW of 14,000, 17,000 and 21,000 lbs and an EPA-certified diesel engine; these will be sold worldwide for on-road use, including in the U.S.
The company says that Tiger’s off-highway vehicles are appropriate for uses including college campuses, golf courses, military bases, farms, nurseries and industrial sites.
An existing 112,000-square-foot facility in the Poteau Industrial Park will require only a modest up-fitting and has ample expansion capacity; the company says it will be able to mix configurations on the line, including left- and right-hand drive vehicles. Tiger plans to have 100 employees in the first year of operation, with single-shift capacity of 7,500 vehicles per year; by the end of the third year, it is expected to employ almost 300 people. Established in 1999, Tiger Truck is headquartered in Dallas and previously announced intentions to establish its new plant in Texas, but “a few key variables did not meet expectations,” the company says, and that Oklahoma “quickly mobilized to meet our needs in such a way that little time has been lost from our original aggressive schedule.”