News story

Units of UniCarriers go through extensive transitions

Thursday, 29 November 2012 ( #593 ) - Marengo, IL, United States
For the Americas' market, newly formed UniCarriers Corp is transitioning design and production of TCM forklifts from Japan to the Nissan Forklift Corp North America facility in Marengo.

The Nissan and TCM brands continue to exist, but, globally, UniCarriers is considering changing gradually to a single new yet-to-be-identified brand.

UniCarriers adopted the consolidated manufacturing plan for the Americas following the merger of the Nissan Forklift Co Ltd subsidiary of Nissan Motor Co Ltd and the TCM Corp unit of Hitachi Construction Machinery Co Ltd.

Ongoing manufacturing for the Americas will occur primarily in Marengo and the Nissan Forklift plant in Noáin, Spain. Beginning in 2013, the existing TCM Shiga plant in Ōmihachiman, Japan is scheduled to make previously outsourced Nissan forklifts, largely for the Asian market.

UniCarriers' shareholders are the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ), 53.3%; Hitachi Construction, 26.7%; and Nissan Motor, 20.0%. The Japanese government passed a special law for industrial revitalisation in creating INCJ and provides the group's primary funding. INCJ is investing JPY30 billion (USD386.4 million) in UniCarriers.

As of 31 March 2011, TCM had 2,371 employees and Nissan Forklift Co Ltd had 2,091 employees, each on a consolidated basis.

Here are capsule backgrounds of the US operations:

Nissan Forklift

Peter Kruse
Peter Kruse
Nissan Forklift Corp North America began production in Marengo for the Americas market in 1988 and, in early 2012, manufactured its 200,000th Nissan forklift.

En route to UniCarriers' creation, Nissan Motor spun off its global forklift-focused industrial machinery division into Nissan Forklift Co Ltd of Yokohama, Japan on 1 October 2010, with the operations for the Americas as a subsidiary.

Peter Kruse is president of the Marengo-based UniCarriers Americas business unit, overseeing the existing entities, Nissan Forklift Corp North America and TCM Americas Inc. Those identities may change after the upcoming brand change.

Kruse joined Nissan Forklift Corp North America in July 2004 as chief financial officer, was named president for the American operations in April 2009 and became president of UniCarriers Americas on 1 October 2012. Kruse reports to Satoru Omori, chief executive officer of Tokyo-based UniCarriers Corp.

Nissan in the Americas has more than 115 authorised forklift dealerships with about 225 locations.

The corporation's Marengo operations include Nissan Industrial Equipment Co, Barrett Industrial Trucks Corp and the Nissan line of industrial engines. The Marengo facility has 456,000 sqft. (41,040 sqm) of which manufacturing activities occupy 356,000 sqft. (32,040 sqm). A 55,000 sqft. (5,110 sqm) facility houses finished Nissan and Barrett forklifts and provides additional research and development capabilities.

In broadening its reach in 2007, Nissan Forklift Co Ltd acquired forklift manufacturer Atlet AB of Mölnlycke, Sweden, southeast of Gothenburg. Atlet lines include Tergo, Alto, Ergo, Tempo and Balance models with many customised versions to meet specialised needs.


TCM predecessor Toyo Umpanki Manufacturing Co Ltd was established in 1949 and began exporting forklifts in 1950. Toyo Umpanki was renamed TCM Corp in 1999, and Hitachi Ltd's construction machinery unit became the top shareholder of TCM Corp in 2003.

The business entered the North American forklift market from Japan in 1965, initially relying on independent Japan-based trading firms Mitsui & Co and Itochu Corp for distribution in the US and, in an ongoing relationship, Deval Handling Equipment Inc for Canada.

Subsequently, TCM Manufacturing USA Inc was established. Production for the US market began in West Columbia, South Carolina in 1989 in a 165,000 sqft. (14,850 sqm) factory. Starting in 2006, TCM invested to modify and partially automate the site's production and assembly operations.

TCM, however, suspended forklift production in April 2010 and discontinued related distribution and parts operations in Swedesboro, New Jersey and Houston, Texas.

TCM continues to provide customer service and technical and sales support and distribution of spare parts through a site in West Columbia.
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