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Isuzu buys site in Birmingham

BIRMINGHAM (AP) — Isuzu Manufacturing Services of America Inc. has purchased a large distribution center in Pinson Valley and is expected to announce plans to build commercial trucks in Birmingham.

The Birmingham News reported Saturday that the subsidiary of Tokyo-based Isuzu Motors Ltd. bought the 300,000-square-foot former Del Monte Corp. distribution center for nearly $8 million.

The company plans to convert the warehouse into a truck assembly plant that could employ up to 1,000 people within a few years, according to the report.

Economic development officials declined to comment on the project Friday.

Mayor Bernard Kincaid and Gov. Bob Riley have been in negotiations with Isuzu for several months, as have the Metropolitan Development Board, the Alabama Development Office and Alabama Power Co.

The project will qualify for incentives from the city and the state based on the extent of Isuzuís investment and the number of jobs to be created, using a formula spelled out by state law. It is possible additional incentives could be offered.

Isuzu projected sales of 32,000 in 2006, up from 25,000 in 2005. Isuzu currently operates a commercial truck assembly plant in Janesville, Wis., in a joint venture with General Motors. That plant builds fewer than 5,000 trucks per year.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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