Jungheinrich: no plan to leave customers “productless”

News Story
- 14 Dec 2006 ( #290 ) - RICHMOND, VA, United States
3 min read
John Sneddon
John Sneddon
Jungheinrich Lift Truck Corp, of Richmond, Virginia, has retired its Multiton brand, and Mobile Industries Inc, of Toronto, Canada, has recruited some former Multiton dealers.

Jungheinrich is pursuing a single-brand strategy and, by the end of October, had phased out the Multiton brand. "Starting in July, we had a series of mailers to dealers and some catalogue houses," said John Sneddon, president of the US subsidiary of Jungheinrich Group (Forkliftaction.com News #270). "We had up to 800 active Multiton non-exclusive dealers in the US."

Jungheinrich Lift Truck Corp and Multiton MIC Corp had merged on January 1, 2005, and the Multiton retirement project began a year later. "We had to lose some business to be more active with the Jungheinrich brand through our main Jungheinrich dealer channel," Sneddon said.

He said the US decision on Multiton followed the corporate approach. "This is nothing new" for Jungheinrich. "In 2002, in Europe, Jungheinrich had four brands and made a decision to go to one brand in the marketplace. The single brand [decision] in the US is an extension of what we have been doing globally."

In the US, Multiton had a long history and significantly higher name recognition than Jungheinrich.

Multiton was formed in 1951, became part of Jungheinrich Group, of Hamburg, Germany, in 1976 and came under the US subsidiary as part of the North American introduction of the Jungheinrich line a few years ago.

The Multiton retirement has left a market opening that Mobile is seeking to pursue, although Mobile and Jungheinrich have not collaborated.

Mobile said in a statement that it had linked with some former Multiton dealers seeking alternative suppliers of class 3 stacker and pallet truck product lines. In making its case, Mobile said post-closing fulfillment of aftermarket requirements for Multiton parts and service was now questionable.

Sneddon said mainline Jungheinrich dealers could handle Multiton parts and service needs. Product warranties continued. Jungheinrich has 65 North American mainline dealers, including three in Canada and two in Mexico.

In some cases, management opened the way for Jungheinrich factory stores in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Chicago, Illinois, to deal with certain Multiton issues, Sneddon said.

Jungheinrich manufacturing occurs in Germany with limited assembly in Richmond. Mobile employs more than 300 in engineering and manufacturing positions and another 100 in warehousing, promotional and sales roles. Mobile designs and develops materials handling product lines inhouse. Mobile has warehouses in two Canadian provinces, four US states and various other countries.

"Mobile was one of the first North American materials handling manufacturers to strike joint-venture (JV) agreements with offshore manufacturing companies," Robert Uhrig, general manager of Mobile marketing & operations, said. "Mobile's primary North American manufacturing facility is in Toronto" with other production around the world.

Mobile manufactured its B60CSA and other Mobile-branded materials handling equipment at its North American facility and worked with JVs to produce its Eco-branded lines, Uhrig said.

Mobile began in the late 1950s and, from North American and JV operations, manufactures more than 60,000 pallet trucks annually.

Among Mobile's newer lines are self-propelled pallet trucks and stackers, generic allied products, such as hand trucks, jacks, dock plates and lift tables, and store fixture products, such as platform trucks, rolling ladders and lumber carts.

Sneddon said about the Multiton retirement: "We came up with a plan. We felt we had everything covered. We could not know about any conflicts. It was never our intention to leave people without a product."
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