Heavy-equipment makes moves in US market

By Lia Zhu in San Francisco | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-07-05 10:05

LiuGong North America, in US since 2008, is confident of ability to compete

When asked about the US market in the construction equipment industry, Li Dongchun said, "It's like the tip of a pyramid.

"Winning the US market has always been the dream of LiuGong since our first generation leadership," said Li, chairman and president of LiuGong North America, a subsidiary of Guangxi LiuGong Machinery Co Ltd.

The US, with GDP over $18 trillion, takes up 20 percent of the world's heavy equipment industry, said Li.

"It's such a critical market that any top construction equipment manufacturer can't afford to neglect," he said.

Heavy-equipment makes moves in US market

With 60 years of experience in product development and support of 20 manufacturing facilities worldwide, the Liuzhou, China-based company launched its North American office in 2008 after three years of research.

The facility, relocated to Katy, Texas in 2014, provides parts, research and development, sales, technical support and training for dealers and customers across North America, Central America and the Caribbean.

As the subsidiary enters its 10th year in the US market, Li said its confidence comes from the company's competitiveness.

LiuGong has one of the most expansive product lines and quick responses to market demands, with the support of nearly 1,000 engineers at LiuGong's global R&D centers in China, the US, the UK, Poland and India, according to Li.

"For a long time in the past, China's manufacturing industry had been labeled a copycat," said Li. "We are proud that LiuGong is more than a market follower, but an innovator."

LiuGong has invested $44 million in the infrastructure of the R&D center in China. The company also recruited David Beatenbough, a US mechanical expert, to lead the R&D program 10 years ago.

Beatenbough helped tailor the R&D process for integrated products development (IPD) to LiuGong's needs and formed the unique LiuGong product development (LPD) process in 2008.

As a result, innovative technologies have been created, including the vertical lift technology, which the company said is the first of its kind and creates a new class of machines in the industry.

At the Conexpo-Con/Agg show in Las Vegas in March, LiuGong's vertical lift wheel loader was unveiled for the first time to the American market.

The key innovations of the product are the vertical lift loader arms on an articulating frame and the mechanical self-leveling Z-bar bucket linkage on a vertical lift loader.

By providing a heavier tipping load and a higher lift height and reach, the vertical lift loader can improve efficiency by 50 pecent to 60 percent over conventional wheel loaders of the same power and weight, according to the company.

LiuGong's products are tailor-made for the US market, said Li. The North America subsidiary has introduced eight of the company's 15 product lines to the US market, including wheel loaders, excavators, rollers, skid-steer loaders, backhoe loaders, motor graders, Dressta dozers and LiuGong forklifts.

"We are committed to delivering machines that are simple to operate, meet the emissions requirement and also boast a high degree of control to enable operation in difficult and isolated terrain," Li said.

When it comes to challenges, especially in after-sales support and service, Li said they are "still on the road".

"The solution is to build a local team that understands the market and collaborate with local partners," he said. "We are working to achieve the goal of 95 percent parts fill rate within 24 hours and a service network to address issues within 48 hours."

To remain competitive, Li has outlined a comprehensive and ambitious five-year development strategy, including the expansion of product lines, value-added components, financing programs and inventory management.

"Currently, the revenue in the US market is less than 5 percent of the company's total, but the potential is huge," he said.

Heavy-equipment makes moves in US market

(China Daily USA 07/05/2017 page2)

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