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Changing brand strategy won’t affect dealers

Wednesday, 1 Feb 2012 ( #550 ) - Ancenis, France
News Story
Toyota’s French dealers and forklift users can expect "business continuity" with the forklift manufacturer’s new business model.

Toyota Material Handling Europe (TMHE) and Manitou BF last month agreed to change their decades-long partnership in France. They said in a joint statement that "TMHE and Manitou intend to pursue their ongoing co-operation, while exploring new opportunities and preserving business continuity for their common dealers and end-customers on the French market".

Manitou started distributing Toyota industrial equipment through fully owned subsidiary CFM in 1972.

Today, Manitou produces and distributes outside France a range of industrial forklifts and warehousing equipment under its own brand. This is in addition to being the national distributor of Toyota material handling equipment in France.

In January 2013, the French equipment maker wants to distribute its Manitou range in France while TMHE wants to distribute its Toyota and BT forklifts through the same business model that it has in other European countries.

Manitou spokesman Jean-Pierre Guerand tells News that over the 40 years of partnership with TMHE, his company has acquired "a very solid expertise in the industrial materials handling markets by distributing the Toyota brand and benefiting from Toyota’s worldwide experience as a market leader".

Jean-Christophe Giroux, Manitou president, agrees: "Toyota has helped us grow a unique expertise in industrial materials handling, and recognise the value of that segment alongside agriculture and construction. We now wish to expand this model across other geographies, leveraging a single product range under our own Manitou brand."

Guerand says that Manitou will launch a new generation of 1.5-3.5 T internal combustion counterbalance trucks in Europe this month. "This product line and electric forklift range will be distributed in France from 1 January 2013."

TMHE president Hakan Dahllöf says: "We’re very appreciative of what Manitou has built for the Toyota brand in France, but we now need to deploy our pan-European model for branding and distribution with one integrated organisation in charge for both Toyota and BT brands.

"I am convinced it will represent a great business platform for the French dealers who will naturally fit in. Even if our business arrangement with Manitou changes, we still very much value the relationship moving forward, and will continue to explore opportunities together."

Business is expected to continue as usual through to December 31, 2012, with no expected impact for either organisation, dealers or customers.

TMHE and Manitou jointly decided not to renew the exclusive distribution agreement for Toyota forklifts in France from 1 January 2013.
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