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Tailift appointment for foothold in the UK

Wednesday, 25 Mar 2015 ( #711 ) - Witham, United Kingdom
News Story
(L-R) Tailift sales and marketing director Louis Sun with Windsor managing director Stephen Burton.
Tailift has appointed Ambassador as its exclusive UK importer that will distribute the Taiwanese brand forklifts via its own dealer network.

Tailift sales and marketing director Louis Sun says the partnership enables the brand to establish a firm foothold in the UK market.

"We are a major exporter with over 40 years' experience and a trusted developer of forklift equipment across the world," Sun explains. "Our product design, manufacturing processes and component supply agreements are extremely good, but we have struggled to find a partner that has the experience and know-how to establish a strong presence in the UK."

"For the partnership to be a success, we rely on the local knowledge of the distributor, and with Ambassador, we already know that the communication and commitment to the Tailift brand looks very promising," he adds.

Tailift will launch three new forklift ranges through Ambassador, whose parent is Hull-based Windsor Materials Handling. Parts, warranty, training and sales support to newly appointed dealers will be coordinated with Tailift, using Windsor's established infrastructure. Ambassador is based in a single location – Witham in Essex – while Windsor has 10 branches in the country with local parts managers and training facilities.

A Tailift spokesman tells News that dealers will be appointed soon. "Some companies have already expressed interest but Ambassador is in the process of recruiting a Tailift dealer manager. After that, we expect the dealers to be signed up."

Windsor managing director Stephen Burton adds: "Tailift has a strong presence in the UK via their partner brands, but their own range is yet to make as strong an impact as it has elsewhere in the world. The build quality is excellent, yet it is extremely competitive. We see this new venture as a superb opportunity to deliver a high quality, value for money brand, via the strong infrastructure that Ambassador can deliver."

With manufacturing operations in Taiwan and China, Tailift’s forklift division has a production capacity of 28,000 units per year. The company is known for its work for Flexi, Hubtex and Artison brands. Tailift’s masts, engines and hoses are sourced from Germany, Japan, the UK or elsewhere, while other specialist items like transmissions and electronic components are sourced domestically.

Artison is a Tailift forklift brand with its own distribution channel. The range is produced to compete with Chinese-made equipment, while the Tailift brand is targeted at the domestic, European and US markets.

Tailift has built trucks for Flexi since 1998, Hubtex since 2006 and DanTruck since 2009. The Taiwanese firm has also helped these businesses reach the South Asia market through its own sales network.

"We see the Tailift product as the ideal machine for a cost-conscious operation that doesn't want the hassle and uncertainty of a Chinese brand or the reliability issues of used equipment," Burton says.

Launching in the UK through Ambassador are the electric, diesel and LPG-powered Z Series and Eco-Z Series ranges from 1.5 to 7.0 T capacity that have been developed over the past two years as premium and economy equipment for export to Europe and the US. A third big truck range up to 10 T, the 9L Plus, will be introduced later this year.

Last year, Tailift sold a stake in its forklift operations to Toyota, and the two companies announced that the business will be spun off into a jointly operated venture ( News #687). A period of research is now under way as Toyota look to implement their TPS (Toyota Production System) and Just In Time systems, and develop access to the Chinese market through Tailift's 120-strong dealer network.

"It is anticipated that Toyota will assess the business potential and processes for at least 18 months, possibly two years," the Tailift spokesman says. "Tailift has excellent access to the Chinese market, something which Toyota will be keen to make use of. Toyota will also be keen to maintain Tailift's reputation for being flexible and quick to respond to the market (as a family-owned business), whilst introducing their famous TPS and JIT systems."

Acquired by Windsor in 2014, Ambassador played an important role in the expansion of Komatsu forklifts in the south of England. The business began in 1994, firstly as a Nissan dealer before being appointed as a Komatsu distributor in 2008.

With 11 local branches and over 110 service staff, Windsor provides a wide range of materials handling equipment, including diesel and gas forklifts, electric forklifts, warehouse equipment, side-loaders, large forklifts, container handlers, access equipment, cleaning equipment, articulating very narrow-aisle (VNA) and tractor units.
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