Toyota production by Beizhi. Brochure collection mr. Bai Guang.
When Japan invaded China it needed the shortest supply lines, and it was for that reason that the Japanese regime encouraged truck assembly at several places in China. These factories assembled Japanese trucks for military and also for civilian use.
So after describing the American influenced Minsheng (Zhongshan) and the assembly of the German Mercedes, I will write here about the third country involved in the 1930s-1940s Chinese truck production.
This history is a little bit tense, as it describes the activities of an occupier of China. But, like the Americans and German, it had certainly an influence on the later Chinese truck industry.
The first company I want to tell you about was called Tonghe Automobile Industry Company in Manchukuo (Dongbei), more commonly known under its Japanese name Dowa. Tonghe was established in Shenyang (then called Fengtian) in March 1934. It made use of the Minsheng facility and production equipments of the Fengtian Arsenal, that the Japanese had occupied since 1931.
From the pictures it is clear that Tonghe assembled Nissan 80 trucks. Nissan 80 trucks had a 3670 cc 6-cylinder engine. Sizes 5390X2900X2500 mm, wheelbase 3251 mm.
Tonghe had many problems to become profitable, the mean reason was that the Japanese military bought less trucks than expected. I don’t know how many trucks they made. In 1936 Manchuria counted 10.557 vehicles, of which only 118 were made by Tonghe.
Tonghe (Dowa) was also producer of armoured trucks. The Manchukuo 93 was made here.
In March 1942 Tonghe was incorporated in the Manchuria Automobile Co. Ltd. (Manzi).
Next is the Beizhi (North China) Automobile Company established in Beijing. Beizhi produced Toyota KB trucks. I don’t know where the production site was.
The 4-ton Beizhi Toyota KB measured 6150X1830X2085 mm, wheelbase 4000 mm and had a curb weight of 2920 kg. The 6-cylinder engine had 3389 cc.
Toyota GB trucks were assembled in by Toyota in Tianjin. We have some beautiful colour pictures thanks to Weibo (@颐和吴老) .
Assembly of the GB and a bus chassis started in April 1938.
Toyota GB truck specifications are: 6412X2190X2220 mm, wheelbase 3386 mm, curb weight 2600 kg, engine 3386 cc, 6-cylinder, 78 hp.
The Tianjin factory was named Hokusho Motor Co. in February 1940.
In May 1939 assembly of the Toyota GB truck started also by Toyota in Shanghai. This factory was renamed Huazhong Toyota Motor Co. Ltd. in February 1942.
Japanese truck production in China before and during the Second Chinese-Japanese war (the Second World War) was a serious thing, it disappeared a bit in the Chinese automobile history. A reason for me to show it to you. Like always: please tell me what you missed, give your comments and additions.