Cat Contemplating Shift of Excavator Production From Japan to US

Wed March 17, 2010 - National Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

As part of a long-term strategic initiative, Caterpillar Inc. has undertaken a study that could lead to a new hydraulic excavator facility being built in the United States. Such a move could triple the current amount of hydraulic excavators now produced by the company in the United States and significantly increase Caterpillar’s employment in the United States dedicated to excavator production, and further leverage excavator production in Japan to serve increasing demand in China and across Asia.

“The study is based on the current analysis of where the global excavator market is heading and how Caterpillar should position itself for continued leadership in the excavator industry,” said Gary Stampanato, Caterpillar vice president with responsibility for excavators.

Currently, the company only produces two excavator models at a facility in Aurora, Ill., where it also produces wheel loaders, soil and landfill compactors, wheel dozers and components. In addition, Caterpillar produces excavators in Belgium, Brazil, China, France, Indonesia, Japan and Russia. If the contemplated decision is finalized, the new facility would manufacture the two models now made in Aurora, as well as several additional excavator models now produced in Japan and exported to the United States.

“The excavator business is highly competitive and continues to evolve with a diverse and growing number of manufacturers around the world,” Stampanato added. “As the global leader in the construction and mining equipment industry, it is imperative for Caterpillar to refine its excavator manufacturing strategy in order to provide customers with the products that will make them more productive and profitable.”

This study is part of a long-term strategic initiative to develop the appropriate global footprint needed to competitively produce hydraulic excavators.

Hydraulic excavators are a core machine family made by the company and are widely used in applications around the world. If finalized and approved, the new U.S.-based factory would be the primary North American source for excavators. Under this scenario, Caterpillar’s Akashi, Japan, excavator facility would have the available capacity needed to better serve customers in the rapidly expanding Asia-Pacific region. Based on Caterpillar’s current long-term forecast for the Asia-Pacific region, it is possible Akashi may need to increase capacity and employment to help meet demand. A final decision regarding this study will be made at a later date.

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