Demand for mini excavators, compact excavators and compact wheel loaders continues to grow, driven by a strong housing market in North America. This growing market is a focal point for Hitachi Construction Machinery Americas Inc. (HCMA) as it continues to expand in North and Latin America with innovative products, services and solutions.
“Part of our strategy as we move forward — as our dealership groups come together and we build on our distribution system — is to focus on small equipment,” said HCMA Vice President of Sales Simon Wilson. “There’s tremendous demand from consumers and rental businesses for small equipment. And that continues to grow.”
Hitachi wheel loaders made their initial debut in Canada in 2017 and in the United States in 2018. The compact line currently consists of five models ranging from the 25-HP (18.5-kW), 7,310-lb (3,316 kg) ZW30-5B to the 101-HP (74-kW), 18,509-lb (8,430-kg) ZW120-6. “Over the past four years, our compact wheel loader business has increased in size tenfold,” noted Wilson.
While not new to North America, HCMA is now responsible for marketing its own Hitachi-built compact and mini excavators to the North and Latin American markets. The company expects to see rapid growth in that segment as well. “We pioneered this business. Hitachi built the first excavators, and Japan is considered the premier market for excavator design and engineering,” noted Wilson. “The people in this company live and breathe hydraulic-excavator technology.”
Preparing for demand
Taking a proactive approach to meet future demand, Hitachi Construction Machinery Co., Ltd. (HCM) will increase the production capacity for compact products such as excavators and wheel loaders produced at the Shiga Works facility of its consolidated subsidiary, Hitachi Construction Machinery Tierra Co., Ltd. The Shiga Works facility is forecast to produce approximately 30% more units by FY 2025 compared to the number of machines produced in FY 2021.
As part of the facility upgrade, HCM Tierra plans to functionally enhance and relocate its product test site to an adjacent site by FY 2024, with the goal of advancing the development of compact products. Because compact products often replace manpower and frequently operate in urban areas, there is a growing need for high functionality, which requires more advanced development testing. In addition to an expansion of environment-resistant testing equipment, beginning in FY 2024 HCM Tierra will expand compact excavator and compact wheel loader testing. This will include conducting structural rigidity tests at a site approximately twice the size of its previous site.
Service and support grow
To build on its reputation for reliable solutions, HCMA is enhancing its customer support capabilities for dealers and customers. It expanded its corporate headquarters in Newnan, Georgia, with the addition of a 400,000-square-foot parts distribution center and continues to add staff. “Over the last six months, we’ve added about 150 employees to the Hitachi organization to support the business in North and Latin America,” Wilson said. “We’re not finished yet.”
The expanding dealer network and internal staff are being carefully vetted to maintain the company’s reputation. “We’ve had more than 3,000 applications from the Americas that have said, ‘We want to be part of this adventure,’” said Wilson. “Hitachi is a well-known and well-respected name, and that came through for us.”
HCMA has positioned itself to capture substantial market share in the compact equipment business.
“North America and Latin America represent the largest construction equipment markets in the world, and we are ready to turn the region Hitachi orange with the best equipment,” says HCMA CEO Alan Quinn.
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