First Climber, now Hino

(May 6, 2004) — (Little Rock-AP) -- The expected construction of a truck assembly plant in eastern Arkansas by the end of the decade will give the state its first general-use vehicle plant since the 1920s. Governor Huckabee announced yesterday that Hino Motors Limited plans to build an auto parts plant near Marion. Sources told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Hino will eventually build an assembly plant in Arkansas, too, as the Japanese company seeks to increase international sales. Hino makes medium and large trucks, and buses. The Climber Car Company built 275 cars at Little Rock from 1919 to 1923. That's according to the Museum of Automobiles. The museum said the Climber ran like a tractor and was once driven up the steps of the state Capitol building to prove its strength. Arkansas Historical Quarterly wrote in 1970 that company ran into financial trouble during a recession in 1921 and that its assets were sold in 1924 after a hearing in Pulaski County Chancery Court. Amtran Corporation builds school buses at Conway, but for a special market.