Europe buys more forklifts than Total Americas?!

Does anyone have a good explanation for why forklift sales are greater in Europe than North America and South America combined? I can understand the emerging market growth of Eastern Europe, but S. America has similar growth. Is it related to the many European countries and the warehouse dynamics there? Or does N. America have more efficient warehouses, they're fewer and larger, so as a total fewer forklifts are required?

These are just guesses as I am not familiar with the market, so I would appreciate your expert opinion.

  • Posted 15 May 2012 03:18
  • Discussion started by elephantroom
  • New York, United States
Showing items 1 - 15 of 76 results.
"..I've read somewhere else on this site that the popular European brands are more electronically advanced than their American counterparts. This would effect downtime & repair costs- this could be a possible reason..."

I don't think it.
For example, when AC replaced DC motors, downtime and repair costs went down.
  • Posted 17 Oct 2012 03:52
  • Reply by Henrys
  • Veneto, Italy
Does anyone have a breakdown of the market share of the different brands in Europe & USA- and within those breakdowns, the percentage of the different classes they sell.

I've read somewhere else on this site that the popular European brands are more electronically advanced than their American counterparts. This would effect downtime & repair costs- this could be a possible reason

Also- with increased electronics- increased training would also be a pre-requesite. With having dealers service the equipment rather than in-house tech's or independents, dealerships are in the primary business of selling equipment, and therefore would be in a very good position to sell new equipment constantly.
  • Posted 17 Oct 2012 00:30
  • Reply by bbforks
  • Pennsylvania, United States
bbforks (at) Hotmail (dot) com
Customers love technology- until they have to pay to fix it!
The use of small (4 batteries & onboard charger) walk behind Class III pallet trucks in the back of trailers is significant in the United States, though I agree is not universally applied.

Yale does a significant business in these trucks and have heard it represents a majority of the Class III product they sell. I have worked over the years for both Crown and Raymond and know they sell to this market in significant quantities as well.

I would agree that it doesn't represent all of the over the road applications since America still insists on relying on trucking, in many instances, rather than Rail for much of its long haul needs. These long haul trucks are obviously not equipped with a pallet truck and are "Cubed Out" for lowest possible delivery costs.

Local deliveries and company owned trucks which are used for both local and often longer runs, are equipped with a Pallet trucks.
  • Posted 1 Oct 2012 23:57
  • Reply by OldTechGuy
  • Illinois, United States
"....in Europe almost every on-highway truck (lorry for our UK friends) will have a walkie pallet jack for loading and unloading the goods....."

Are you sure,sure?
  • Posted 28 Sep 2012 13:07
  • Reply by Henrys
  • Veneto, Italy
Life is simple Andrew - Benny states in his last sentence that the small walk behind pallet truck (and I am assuming he is referring to battery powered units) is almost non existent in North America. I stated Class III trucks (battery powered low lift, high lift walkie stackers, etc) account for almost 30% of the total market (at least in the US) - this is significant. It was also indicated that in Europe there was a 50/50 split between electrics & IC type units. In the US market it is more or less 60% electric & 40% I.C.E powered split.
I provided the full breakdown in response another gentlemen's desire for info on a comparison of NA vs EU. Unfortunately exact numbers cannot be freely stated per the ITA rules & regulations only %ages and cannot speak for Europe.
Now what would you like the stats correlated to?
  • Posted 28 Sep 2012 11:28
  • Reply by johnr_j
  • Georgia, United States
You guys are bending my head with all those statistics but what Benny said about the mode of delivery in Europe is spot on. It has to have a major impact in the electric pallet jack market. The most destructive form of lift trucks made by man in my opinion! Would you correlate your statistics for us weak brains?
  • Posted 28 Sep 2012 06:13
  • Reply by andrew_j
  • Florida, United States
I learn from my customers and mistakes
Will Challenge your observations on electric truck percentages for North America, primarily the US market. Historically, Class I electrics (sit down & stand-up counter balanced riders) account for about 24-26% of annual sales, Class II narrow aisle & order selectors about 12-14% and Class III battery powered walkie (low lifts & stackers), tow tractors 28-30%. The balance is engine powered cushion and pneumatic with cushion tire units being about 19-20% and pneumatics 17-19% Electric product sales will have higher percentages than ICE sales during slow economic times as the prime users are in the food & food distribution industries.
Canadian sales have a different sales mix with higher sales in pneumatics than cushion, ruffly the market size in Canada is about 10% of the US and sales in Mexico are very heavy in pneumatics and electrics of all types are about 10% of the total.
In Europe you will find a very small numbers for cushion (press-on solids) sales than in North America (some in Germany & a smattering or two in Great Britain). About 94 to 95% of cushion units are sold in N. America and a few escape to Australia.
  • Posted 28 Sep 2012 05:00
  • Modified 28 Sep 2012 05:05 by poster
  • Reply by johnr_j
  • Georgia, United States
"Have An Exceptional Day!"
thank you benny_f!
this is interesting insight, and definitely a very useful point of view. since i'm unfamiliar with small walk behind pallet jacks, i'll look it up. always interested in learning more.
if anyone has units sold by forklift type by Americas vs Euope, that would really put some closure to this question.
thanks again everyone.
  • Posted 28 Sep 2012 03:33
  • Reply by elephantroom
  • New York, United States
Old thread, but somewhat surprising to see that the initial question has not been correctly answered. You can't look at the total numbers. Counterbalance trucks are sold in quite equal volumes in EU vs NA, electrics have 50/50 share in Europe but only about 1/4 in North America. There are some 20% more warehouse trucks sold in Europe, but that's still a smaller difference. What throws the numbers off is the fact that there are about 100,000 more class 3 trucks sold in Europe. These are mostly small electric walkies used in retail and distribution. Stores use these electric pallet jacks instead of hand trucks, but the real difference is that in Europe almost every on-highway truck (lorry for our UK friends) will have a walkie pallet jack for loading and unloading the goods. Here in the US, the trailers are loaded and unloaded by forklifts based at the facilities they go to.
So, the only real difference between Europe and North America is this class of small walk behind pallet jacks that almost doesn't exist here in the US. Just my two cents.
  • Posted 28 Sep 2012 03:27
  • Reply by benny_f
  • Virginia, United States
andrew j i have lived in HX most my life so most probably know people you know. The part i was making about new reg's already exists tier IIII. if you were to look at big trucks over 10,000kg Hyster and Taylor Both US companies even tho Hyster produce in Europe there big truck sales do well in US and Taylor who's majority of sales are in US are in the top three manufactures in the world. even tho these sales might be small compared to small trucks there is still quite a lot of sales going on in these in the US.

I think the major problem with European manufactures is their trucks are to complicated. I know from over here that people are talking about more electric trucks but in reality it is a much more expensive way of doing this because of spare battier's ect.

linde and toyota have both got electric trucks at 5,000kg but when these are compared to there diesel counterparts the are up to 30% more to purchase. I do think the chines will now start to dominate the forklift market over years to come and will in time over take the top four of Toyota , Linde, NACCO and Junghienric and CAT will pull out of lift trucks all together they are practically out now so they might as well just concentrate on there core business which is construction machinery. Komatsu will also follow CAT out of lift trucks and so will Hyundai. KION is in total a total mess not knowing where to go to next and the new TCM Nissan company will just look around and say they have capital to invest but wont spend any of it.

If the US go down the all electric route they will find them self's unable to compete at a economical way the US grid needs Billions of dollars to be spent on this to bring it up to Scratch and to look to electric trucks as the future will not help because they will not be able to produce and distribute the electricity needed.

people say this way is the way the market is going to go and to be fair 90% of the top management agree that by 2020 most trucks sold will be electric powered , the point they don't seem to understand is that most countries don't have the facilities to deliver the power source that would be needed to do this. And the extra cost of spare batteries will not make this economical.

The amount of rare earth materials that have to go into a new electric forklift is much higher than most people understand and these materials are being sought after by more and more industries such as mobile phones tablet computers ect. like most things when you start to see prices rise because the components are to expensive people will look to other way's of doing this.
  • Posted 14 Aug 2012 06:53
  • Reply by Daveilift
  • west yorks, United Kingdom
Davelift first off what part of W.Yorks are you in? I was born in HX and left when i was 18 but still have lots of ties.
I will try to explain our situation over here vis a vis the UK. In the UK because of the Parliamentary system uually the party that wins is like a dictator. They from that point on until the next election make all the laws and pass them. Imagine if Labour won the election but the Prime Minister was a conservative and he could veto some of their laws. Also the Supreme Court occasionaly weighed in and said no you are both wrong.
Our Safety Regulation Agency OSHA was set up by a Republican President Richard Nixon to be precise in 1973. But that was when the two parties agreed on things that were vital to the country. Now they wouldn't agree if China attacked us.
The Democrats support OSHA because they are funded by the Unions who want safety for their members, the Republicans think it's an interference in the factory owners business. At present the Congress is ruled by the Republicans (like the Commons) and the Senate by the Democrats (House of Lords). OSHA is supposed to go out to work everyday and enforce the rules but must get it's money from Congress. The Republicans who run Congress are like Scrooge to OSHA because they think it should not be there.
At the moment there is a strong movement in the USA against regulations. So to say we would have more regulations on indoor pollution is like saying I am going to win the lottery.
Diesel cars are a rarity in the states, they got a bad reputation in the 70's for unclean smoky exhausts and some other stuff and that killed them off. You and I know that they woud be the salvation but Americans are more in love with Hybrids or the elusive electric cars. As Old Tech Guy already said Diesel and Gas forget it. LPG has been it but Electric is now going to be it and will be it.
Americans like things that don't cost much in maintenance and are easy to fix. Jungehenreich tried like a lot of other companies to change das Americans minds. That will work if say you have a one or two truck line, Bendi, the old Steinboch's, Combi Lift etc because basically you are living on the fringe. When you try to do it with a full line and the support for that, you turn around and look at all that overhead eating your money every day, and then look ahead and see the 3 trucks you sold that week and do the maths.That's why they jacked it in and went with Cat. They had nothing to lose at that point.
The European brands with some exceptions always seem to be underprepared and under stocked with parts for the USA. The Japs and the Chinese (well not yet) have seemed to be more ready to put a lot of money into infrastructure even ahead of sales.Also the Japanese will put USA talent into management jobs almost straight away.The Eropeans send Rodger or Hans over here to run things. I think some of it is language especially with the Brits. Because we talk the same language they think they understand the biz, but actually we talk a very different business language with super different expectations.They have a hard time understanding they don't understand a damned thing. The Japanese know that customs and traditions will be very different and hire foreigners to guide them and then listen to them.
P.S. Re California and their standards. Only in mass marketed products will you find compliance with things like CA stds. If you asked most of the rest of the country to comply with a CA standard you would get a very rude reply.It would be like asking Leeds City Council to enact a law based on the Wine growing region of Southern France.
  • Posted 14 Aug 2012 04:06
  • Reply by andrew_j
  • Florida, United States
I learn from my customers and mistakes

I just wanted to add that California instituted a Clean Air Policy around 2005 - 2006 which resulted in several Jungheinrich electric sit down counterbalanced trucks being sold.

I believe that it may have assisted CAT in making (at least their side of) the decision for partnering with Jungheinrich.

That being said, both business's and individuals are leaving the State in alarming numbers due high costs and regulations. Washington and Arizona are both complaining about the Cailfornia flight. In Arizona it is overshadowed by the Mexican illegal issues but it is present.

Given the poor US economy & short tempers of the electorate, I doubt any Politician would risk introducing similiar regulations at least for the foreseeable future in other States.
  • Posted 14 Aug 2012 01:43
  • Reply by OldTechGuy
  • Illinois, United States

Unfortunately from my perspective, I do not see enviromental concerns driving the markets closer together.

The push in the States is to move away from LPG and toward electrical vehicles for indoor use remember we load trucks from the end, using docks. The acceleration and torque that AC provides electric vehicles compares favorably to LPG vehicles and the electric vehicle does not come with Carbon Monoxide risks.

Around 2005-2006 Jungheinrich reversed their USA plan when sales did not come quick enough for their accounting. At that time, their product was at a 17% premium to other quality products being offered in the market which made every sale a concept sale to overcome the higher costs. They decided to align with Catepillar in the States which gave them a broader and instant distribution channel; which was in their mind the obvious problem to penetration. Caterpillar got their hands on superior technology that was the future, since Catepillar relied on their internal combustion lines.

Unfortunately, they redesigned the US style pallet truck that stripped it of some of its best features. I now work for a company that enjoys 50% market share in Chicago (which means we are in most of the deals) and I can not say that Cat, Jungheinrich or Linde participated in any significant manner in most of them.

Diesel plays a very small role in our market and is usually found on high capacity vehicles (10,000 -12,000 lbs) used out of doors which relegates it to a small percentage of applications. Part of the difficulty is diesel delivery and diesel storage on site for most warehouses. Diesel is found mostly in Ports,Lumber, Steel yards and outdoor storage for manufacturing. In many circumstances they represent a small percentage of the clients fleet. These observations hold true for gasoline (petrol) vehicles as well.

For these reasons I do not think we will reach the critical mass necessary for a US awakening on a enviromental basis.
  • Posted 14 Aug 2012 01:18
  • Reply by OldTechGuy
  • Illinois, United States

the points you make are quite interesting you are right about could the second hand market in North America be larger , and the fact that linde market share in Europe is 70% of there trucks produced. With the majority of trucks sold by European manufactures now using Electronic hydraulics and canbus systems which are more expensive to repair and need specialist computer programs that mean only authorized dealers can do the work would this put European manufactures at a disadvantage compared to others who use mechanical hydraulic systems. The chines manufactures all use mechanical systems in there trucks and with help from European design teams have made improvements in truck's. What will help bring the markets closer will be the environment issues will the North American government say trucks will have to be cleaner to this issue and then in turn any older diesel truck would have to be changed to meet the new regulation's. It is OK saying that all new truck's sold from new have to meet these new reg's but if there are so many older trucks in the market they won't make much difference. If areas of the US say we now have a clean air policy and trucks that are diesel then have to have a emissions test each year this would then see a change again in the markets.

This will not alter the fact that Linde , Junghienrich , and other European manufactures don't sell that well in North America i think it would benefit Asian manufactures more
  • Posted 11 Aug 2012 19:44
  • Reply by Daveilift
  • west yorks, United Kingdom
I have worked for Baker forklifts in the 1980's before & after Linde purchased them in the States, BT and Jungheinrich, both in the states with frequent trips to Europe. I was also with Crown for 10 years.

Here are some of the differences I noticed; In Europe I saw many over the road trucks (lorys?) loaded from the sides with either sitdowns (LPG & Electric) or Mast moving Reach trucks. In the states most trucks are loaded from the end using a dock & dock leveler (or dock board) to enter the trailer.

In Germany and other countries they seemed to have an annual (Government) required inspection for certification of service. If the vehicle was not inspected and repaired according to the Technicians recommendation the truck was parked and not used. Heavy fines ensure compliance. We do not have this requirement in the states.

European replacement parts are priced higher than their US counterparts and encourage rotation of the fleet. A new vehicle has low maintenance costs over a year and older vehicle is likely to have a higher cost over a similar year. If you do not rotate your fleet regularly (20% per year) you would run the risk of much higher maintenance cost with an older fleet.

The higher costs are also embraced by the utilization of bushings rather than bearings and preference given to high tech systems in european models not used in the states. Bushings work but require more attention and can be monitored during the yearly European inspections.

Countless innovations have come to the United States after their debut and testing in the European markets. Hall Effect sensors used in steering columns in 1986 in the Linde B30TE after it was already in Europe for several years. AC drive technology first used by Junghenrich in 1996 is just now permeating our market. I realize manufacturers have introduced AC in their lines a few years ago but Jungheinrich has had it now for 16 years!Manufacturers like Crown or Raymond today are not yet 100% AC across their line.

European parts are more likely to be sold as an assembly which requires the end user to pay significantly more for a given repair. I forced the supplier of a valve assembly for the BT reach truck to supply me component parts so that I my US dealers could compete with Raymond and Crown at the time. The excuse was that there were no servicable parts since special tools were required to dis-assemble and re-assemble the valve. I did not take no for an answer and this allowed our technicians to replace a $23.00 check valve instead of an $1,800 valve assembly on their customers vehicles.

Americans tend to ignore their maintenance requirements and expect their vehicles to be tanks, leading to more frequent repairs due to damage or premature wear. European vehicles are considered lighter duty especially after exposed to our abuse. The higher costs for parts makes the bad experience worse for the end user. I believe this may explain why Linde (one of the largest manufacturers) has such a small presence in the US.

To answer your earlier question of why more in Europe than the US; I must admit I don't know for sure but,

I would look at the number of business's per capita, I expect that the US geography promotes larger business players with fewer seats at the table. Third party logistics can also concentrate the demand for lift trucks with one 3PL handling distribution for 3 or 4 clients in the same facility.

I would poll how many Used Truck only distributors are in each country and (do not forget) every new truck distributor will sell you a used truck as well. My guess is that our Used truck market in the States makes up for some of the difference in the New market. Remember our trucks are considered barbaric tanks when compared to their european counterparts.
  • Posted 11 Aug 2012 08:26
  • Reply by OldTechGuy
  • Illinois, United States

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