LiuGong Announces Plans to Expand in North American Market

LiuGong Machinery Corporation is driving for major expansion in the North American market with new products, new dealer programs, a refined pricing strategy and plans to grow to more than 60 dealer outlets in the next two years, the company announced.

The company has 12 product lines. Wheel loaders, excavators, rollers, motor graders, bulldozers, loader backhoes, skid steer loaders, mini-excavators, forklifts and pavers are available globally, while truck-mounted cranes, currently available in the Chinese market, will be launched to the global market in the next year. The company has nine subsidiaries, each with a sophisticated parts depot strategically located to provide expert support close to important markets. The North American subsidiary operations are located in Katy, TX, right outside of Houston.

LiuGong Construction Machinery North America President, Curt Unger noted they will be displaying 12 of LiuGong’s newest machines at CONEXPO/CON-AGG. This includes the new 842 Tier 4 wheel loader, and machines with optimized hydraulics that can increase productivity by up to 15% and reduce fuel consumption by up to 10%. “We are also introducing forklifts to North America, but these will be sold through a separate division in a separate dealership network," he noted.

Unger pointed out that LiuGong Construction Machinery North America was a new company on the scene in 2008. Now, just three years later, it arrives at CONEXPO-CON/AGG as a global competitor with the products, parts support, service support, financing and sales programs in place to compete in one of the world's largest machine markets.

Dealer development to reach more customers

"CONEXPO-CON/AGG is extremely important to us this year. We're putting a lot of new things in place to help us sign dealers and drive new sales," Unger said. "We're aggressively pursuing dealers right now."

Unger said the company is unveiling a new line up of attractive programs for dealers. "We have reviewed all of our pricing and recently adjusted it to ensure we are competitive across the board with our entire line" he said. "We have put together a dealer financing program which is really important as dealers recover from the tough business climate."

Marketing efforts in coming months will focus on dealer recruitment. LiuGong signed five dealers in 2010. It now has 13 dealers with a total of 17 outlets, but has plans to have more than 60 dealers when fully expanded. Unger said it will focus first on penetrating East Coast markets, as the company believes the economic recovery is happening there first. LiuGong is pursuing the rental market and the general contractor segment and Unger believes its wheel loaders, excavators, skid steers and backhoes mesh well with market demands.

"We believe the rental market will be good for us. In the past three years, customers have not been able to buy anything, and they're renting now instead of purchasing. General contractors have lost a lot of money, so they will rent. Our machines are easy to operate and incredibly durable, so this is a great fit."

Easy operation and maintenance

According to Unger, LiuGong machines are appealing because they are easy to acquire and easy to operate and maintain. "Our goal is to make everything as easy as possible, from purchase, to operating the machine, to service and maintenance. Buyers will just get a lot of up time with LiuGong," he said.

"People are impressed by the power of the machine, but also like the fact there aren't too many bells and whistles which drive the price up, and make maintenance expensive and time consuming," he said. "Anyone who wants to do some of their own servicing can do that on our machines. We believe the market is in a value-oriented mindset right now and this is where LiuGong can excel."

Poised for future growth

LiuGong North America Chairman, Jim Donoghue, has been the architect of the company’s assault on North and Latin America, as well as global markets. He notes it is poised for success in the U.S., saying he expects to more than double sales in 2011. Globally, the company posted sales records – more than doubling profits in 2010 with reported total profits of $280.44 million, up 79.9% from $151 million reported in 2009. Total sales revenue of $2.32 billion increased 50.9% over 2009, from $1.49 billion, setting new company records, executives said.

Industry recognition has followed the company's success. Donoghue noted LiuGong has earned its way into a coveted show locale at CONEXPO-CON/AGG -- a first for LiuGong, and a first for any China-based machine manufacturer.

"We're in the North Hall next to Caterpillar, Case, Volvo and John Deere," he noted. "You have to earn your way. The larger sized companies tend to group themselves together. This is the first time we've been next to these companies, but it's not by accident."

He sums it up: "We're starting to take our position on the global stage because we have earned it by making LiuGong customers successful."

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