The machines at the meeting all performed well on several demonstration sites that were set up to emphasize the benefits of the side entry feature. For example, in an agricultural application, the JCB compact track loader was paced against a disguised conventional competitive machine moving a round bale through a hinged farm gate. The operator on “Brand-X” had to drop the bale, back up the machine, shut off the machine, climb out of the operator compartment by stepping over the fork attachment, open the gate, climb back into the machine over the fork, start the machine, reengage with the bale, etc. while in contrast the JCB operator was able to open the door, step out of the operator compartment, open the gate, step back in, etc. The contrast was very striking.
JCB management estimates that of the 60,000 skid steers sold worldwide, 65% are sold in North America. They estimate that in total, the market for these machines is a $4.5 billion annual sales opportunity of which $3.5 billion is sold in the U.S. The company estimates that 60% of the potential market is for its large platform machines and 40% is for its small platform machines. JCB has spent $40 million to gear up the Savannah plant to build 25 units per day of all models, or somewhere between 6,000 and 8,000 units per year. The company’s goal is to obtain 10% of the global market for skid steers and track loaders.
We didn’t realize what a global player JCB has become. The company builds products in Brazil, India and the U.S. as well as in the U.K. and Europe. Its overseas reputation may be better than in the U.S., despite the fact it has been in the U.S. for more than 40 years. The company claims it is the third largest equipment manufacturer in the world in terms of the quantity of machines built.
"Made in America" is a label that resonates, especially in today’s politically charged environment. In our opinion, JCB has a winner if it can overcome operator concern about the appearance of the single lift arm by advertising the safety aspects of the design and demonstrating the product to key users in each market, and expanding its national dealer network.