China Reversal: Tiger Truck opens plant in Texas

While other manufacturers are hurrying to move factories and parts suppliers to China, Chinese truck maker ChangAn is going the other way. Dallas-based Tiger Truck, the exclusive US importer of ChangAn vehicles, has announced plans to open an assembly plant in Jasper, TX. Tiger's vehicles are for off-road uses here in the US – applications such as groundskeeping, farming, and manufacturing. Tiger CEO Mike Ward is reportedly happy to be hiring U.S. workers and seeking contracts with US OEM suppliers. Tiger will be building two new platforms, the Champ full-size pickup, and a medium-duty truck with gross vehicle weights from 14,000 to 21,000 pounds. Tiger's trucks are EPA/CARB certified, as well as meeting frontal crash-test standards. The drivetrain options are wide-ranging, from 2WD to 4WD, hybrid, diesel, even electric. Tiger is serious about equipping work trucks, and there are all sorts of options and accessories available.
Initially, most of the Jasper plant's output will be for export, but the Tiger folks have designed growth into their plant. The Texas location is good for Tiger's exporting efforts to South America and the Carribean, as well as shipping to all points in the U.S. from their very own rail spur. The 100 employees will be capable of cranking out 7,500 vehicles per shift, according to Tiger's PR materials. If the dealer network and popularity of Tiger products grows, we'd expect to see the operation grow. Even if they're not for on-road use, we can see how these vehicles would be extremely useful, and we're encouraged by the decision to locate in the U.S. and employ U.S. workers, as well as involving U.S. OEMs.

Thanks to tipster Dan!

[Source: PR Inside]


Tiger Truck to Build First U.S. Assembly Plant for Chinese Trucks

JASPER, Texas, March 12 -- In a landmark ceremony today, the owners of Tiger Truck, Texas Congressman Kevin Brady and other officials from the state of Texas, City of Jasper and Jasper County, jointly announced the first Assembly Plant in the U.S. for vehicles based on designs by ChangAn Automobile Group, China's third largest. First vehicles will be delivered from here in early 2008 and will be "Made in U.S." Privately held Tiger Truck is the exclusive importer, distributor and now U.S. manufacturer for ChangAn, which in China has manufacturing agreements with Suzuki, Ford and Mazda.

Mike Ward, Founder and CEO of Tiger Truck, observed, "with so many U.S. manufacturers investing in China, I am particularly pleased to be investing in the U.S., hiring skilled U.S. workers and delivering superior products made here for our markets in the Americas. While others are trying to buy cheap parts from China, we are seeking important OEM and sourcing agreements with key U.S. suppliers. I couldn't be more pleased with our long-standing partnership with ChangAn that leads to this historic first. In our off-road vehicle class, Tiger has been first to build an automatic transmission, 4WD, limited slip differential, electric drive, hybrid drive, and now we will be first to deliver true 'Made in U.S.' vehicles with a Chinese heritage. Our strong dealer network and fast-growing number of users seem to like what we are doing and now we can do it even better."

Initially, nearly 80% of the trucks manufactured here will be for export. The Jasper facility will assemble two new truck platforms. The Champ, available in a 2-door or 4-door crew cab, is a full-size pick-up truck with over 3,000 lb. capacity and will be sold to the U.S. and Canadian off-road market. Another version of this platform for export only is called the Leopard and will be configured with a diesel engine, dual rear wheels, and other features that make it suitable for on-road use in those export markets. The second platform (unnamed) is a medium duty truck with GVW of 14,000 lbs., 17,000 lbs. and 21,000 lbs. that will be sold worldwide for on-road use, including the US. This truck will be delivered with an EPA/C.A.R.B. certified diesel engine.

In acquiring this 92 Acre site with more than 250,000 square feet of existing indoor manufacturing space, ample on-site utilities and a rail spur in the building; Tiger Truck has abundant expansion capacity for the foreseeable future. Single shift capacity is 7,500 vehicles per year and will employ 100 people. This location is strategically well-suited for vehicle shipments to destinations throughout North America, Central America and the Caribbean Basin. The design of the vehicles and the assembly floor layout make it easy to mix configurations on the line even to the extent of right- hand or left-hand drives. Ward said, "The additional efficiencies that we gain from this new facility will sustain Tiger's ability to continue delivering low-cost, high-value vehicles to all of our selected markets. Even though Henry Ford might have objected, our state-of-the-art paint line will now permit us to deliver a larger palette of finish colors from the factory."

Congressman Brady indicated that, "with all the choices in North America available to Tiger Truck for the location of this important plant serving a large section of the international marketplace, we are particularly pleased that this remarkable facility was now available surrounded by an eager and skilled workforce and positioned as it is to meet so many of your strategic objectives. All of Texas is celebrating this historic first with Tiger and we look forward to many good things to come."

About Tiger Truck, LLC:

Tiger Truck has been delivering a series of multi-use trucks and vans for off-road use since 1999. All Tiger vehicles meet the stringent CARB/EPA standards and are available powered by a variety of fuels, electric drive, and include standard shift or automatic transmissions and a 4WD option. Tiger has the largest available array of truck body options for niche applications. Primary distribution in the U.S. is through a select dealership network. Most vehicles are available under the Federal GSA Purchasing Schedule (Contract #GS-07F0260M). Tiger Truck is a privately-held international company, headquartered in Dallas, TX with distribution outlets throughout the U.S., Central America and the Caribbean basin. See .

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