(left to right) NTP Forklifts Australia managing director John Naffine, TCM general manager: marketing Masa-aki Sumida and NTP director Nick Perdelis.
TCM Corp is upgrading and consolidating its Japanese manufacturing facilities to meet growing international demand for its forklifts and wheel loaders.
The announcement follows the April 2005 decision by Hitachi Construction Machinery Co Ltd (HCM) to increase its stake in TCM from 30 per cent to 46 per cent, making HCM TCM's single largest shareholder (Forkliftaction.com News #209
TCM general manager for marketing Masa-aki Sumida said the company's Shiga facility in Omi-hachiman city, 50 km west of Nagoya, which currently makes forklifts below 10-tonnes capacity, would be transformed into a dedicated forklift manufacturing plant in October.
The Ryugasaki facility in Ryugasaki city, around 50 km northeast of Tokyo, which makes wheel loaders and forklifts with load capacities of 10 tonnes and above, will soon produce wheel loaders only.
Sumida, who was in Australia at the end of May to brief the company's national distributor, NTP Forklifts Australia, on the significance of Hitachi's increased shareholding, said the plant upgrades would enable wheel loader output capacity to rise from the current 1,500 machines a year to 2,500 a year. Similar growth was expected for forklifts.
"TCM's strong brand position as Japan's first forklift manufacturer and its pioneering work in materials-handling technological development now enjoys the added financial clout of the global Hitachi Corp, of which HCM is a subsidiary," he said.
HCM's interest in TCM dates back to 2000 when it recognised the need for a wheel loader to complement its line of extractor products. HCM identified TCM as the preferred partner, entered into a manufacturing agreement and took an initial 10 per cent stake in the company.
Growth in worldwide demand for TCM forklifts and wheel loaders saw the stake increase to 30 per cent in April 2003 when HCM purchased the 20 per cent held by Hitachi Shipping (an independent company not part of the Hitachi Corp).