Dealers unhappy with MCFA factory direct forklifts

News Story
- 14 Sep 2006 ( #277 ) - HOUSTON, TX, United States
2 min read
Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift America Inc (MCFA) dealers are unhappy about a website offering factory-direct forklifts, initiated by an MCFA-owned dealership.

Last December, Forkliftaction.com News reported MCFA opened its first factory-direct dealership, Lone Star Lift, in Houston, Texas (Forkliftaction.com News #240).

The website, www.factorydirectforklifts.com, says users can "order Mitsubishi forklifts directly from the factory", "buy at factory prices" and receive service from a "factory-authorised service centre".

Lone Star Lift sales manager Chad Pilbeam told Forkliftaction.com News the website selling forklifts to retail customers was a dealer initiative, not an MCFA initiative.

"It is a distribution method for Lone Star Lift customers in our territory. It does not compete with other Mitsubishi dealers.

"When Lone Star Lift is successful, we will communicate to other dealers how we've been successful using the internet," he said.

According to an MCFA note circulated to US, Canadian, Central and South American and Caribbean region Mitsubishi Forklift Truck dealer principals, the website is currently being tested in the territories of Lone Star Lift, Houston, and Daily Equipment, Louisiana, Mississippi.

"Since the site is only being marketed in the two test territories, it is unlikely an end user in other territories will know of and access the site," the note said.

In an email addressed to Cat dealers, obtained by Forkliftaction.com News, an MCFA employee said the company had received "negative comments" about the circular.

The MCFA employee urged dealers to "keep an open mind regarding MCFA testing new marketing tactics" and assured them MCFA had no intention of stealing Cat dealers' customers.

In 1992, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Corp and Caterpillar Industrial Inc pooled their technological and financial resources and established MFCA, in Houston, Texas. The Houston plant manufactures Mitsubishi and Caterpillar forklifts.

A Caterpillar dealer in western US said he had "major concerns" over MCFA selling factory-priced forklifts to end users who did not qualify for national account pricing.

"This is like General Motors quoting you a deal and taking the dealer out of the picture.

"Cat and Mitsubishi dealers want a determination by MCFA as to what they're going to do.

"We don't agree with that as dealers. We think that is a major issue. It's just a little surprising they would do something like that. The manufacturer has become a competitor," he said.

MCFA could not be reached for comment before Forkliftaction.com News went to press.
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