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Manitex exhibits upgraded M series forklift

Wednesday, 9 Mar 2011 ( #504 ) - Bridgeview, IL, United States
News Story
Manitex International Inc will display two models of its upgraded flagship M series rough-terrain forklifts at the ConExpo/ConAgg show on 22-26 March in Las Vegas, Nevada.

After listening to a customer, engineers at the firm’s Manitex Liftking ULC division redesigned the ergonomics of the line’s operator compartment, adjusted lever and overhead-guard positions, widened the chassis and fender components and incorporated an easy-to-read instrument panel.

The Las Vegas exhibit will include 6,000 lb (2,700 kg) and 8,000 lb (3,600 kg) models of the M series and a 6,000 lb Noble forklift, says Brian McKenzie, commercial sales and marketing manager for Manitex International.

Manitex Liftking builds rough-terrain forklifts, special mission-oriented vehicles and other specialised carriers for commercial and military applications in an 85,000 sqft (7,650 sqm) leased facility in Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada. The effort began in November when a customer in the Sacramento, California area "gave us a list of things to do" during an equipment demonstration and "helped us redesign our truck," McKenzie says. "We had not upgraded the machine in four or five years."

Manitex Liftking delivered a revamped 8,000 lb forklift in early January through the materials handling division of Western Baler & Converter Inc in Rocklin, California, and the customer conducted tests for six weeks. "The dealership brought (the demo unit) back to their shop in mid-February," performed a thorough mechanical review and "invited the customer to look at it," McKenzie notes.

Manitex Liftking standard production will include the upgrades. M series models are available initially up to 12,000 lb (5,400 kg) and eventually up to 30,000 lb (13,500 kg). End markets include lumber, automobile, salvage, brick-and-block and construction applications. A customer can specify a choice of a diesel engine from Perkins, Cummins or John Deere or an optional liquefied petroleum gas or gasoline engine from General Motors.

McKenzie says pricing changes are pending. "We have not had a price increase since 2008. Steel is up 30%."

In addition to the Woodbridge facility, Bridgeview-based Manitex International has operating plants in Bridgeview; Georgetown, Texas; Winona, Minnesota; and Elk Point, South Dakota. Publicly traded Manitex reports profit of USD1.18 million on sales of USD66.3 million for the nine months ended 30 September and is expected to disclose year-end results in about three weeks. Manitex Liftking reports within the firm’s lifting equipment segment.

Regarding the economy and the overall market, "We are seeing a slow steady climb," McKenzie reports.
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