From the very start, the forklift industry has been riddled with various mergers, buyouts, collaborations, and acquisitions. This can make it confusing to keep track of OEMs when ownership of a forklift brand is constantly changing. Check out this timeline of the history of the major manufacturers in the forklift industry to help you make sense of your products.
- 1868, Yale: Yale Lock Manufacturing Co. (USA) is formed, later becoming Yale and Towne Manufacturing Co.
- 1890, Caterpillar: Caterpillar (USA) is founded by Benjamin Holt and Daniel Best.
- 1896, Doosan: The Doosan Group (South Korea) is founded.
- 1898, Baker: Baker Motor Vehicle Co. (USA) is founded to build electric cars. Soon, Baker increases its product line to include electric load trucks.
1900 – 1920
- 1901, Allis-Chalmers: The Allis-Chalmers Company (USA) is founded.
- 1903, Allis-Chalmers: Allis-Chalmers acquires the Bullock Electric Company.
- 1907, Linde: The Linde Air Products Company (Germany) is established.
- 1915 Lewis-Shepard is established in Watertown, Massachusetts
- 1917, Komatsu: Komatsu Iron Works (Japan) is established, later becoming Komatsu Ltd. In 1921.
- 1919, Clark: Clark Tructractor Company (USA) is established as a division of the Clark Equipment Company.
- 1919, Towmotor: Towmotor Corporation (USA) is founded.
1920 – 1940
- 1920s, Hyster: Hyster’s (USA) parent companies, Electric Steel Foundry and Willamette Iron & Steel Works, are established.
- 1920, Mitsubishi: Shibaura Works of Ohte-Shokai K.K. is established as a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd., which eventually becomes Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (Japan).
- 1922, Raymond: Raymond Corporation (USA) is formed.
- 1926, Toyota: Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, Ltd. (now Toyota Industries Corporation) started building automatic looms.
- 1929, Linde: Linde takes over Güldner-Motoren-Gesellschaft, a German engine and tractor manufacturer.
- 1930s, Yale: Yale acquires BKS forklifts in Germany.
- 1930, Raymond. Raymond builds first material handling product under Lyon name.
- 1934, Hyster: Electric Steel Foundry and Willamette Iron & Steel Works have combined into Willamette Hyster Company and an early straddle-carrier forklift model is produced.
1940 – 1960
- 1942, CESAB: CESAB (Italy) is founded.
- 1943, Cascade: Cascade Manufacturing Co. (USA) is founded.
- 1944, Hyster: Willamette Hyster Company is renamed Hyster Company.
- 1945, Crown: Crown Equipment Corporation (USA) is founded.
- 1946, BT: BT Forklifts (Sweden) is founded.
- 1947, Hyundai: The Hyundai Group (South Korea) is founded.
- 1949, TCM: Toyo Carriers Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (Japan) is founded.
- 1950, Prime-Mover: The Prime-Mover Company (USA) is founded by the Home-O-Nize Company of Iowa.
- 1952, Komatsu: Komatsu acquires Ikegai Automobile Manufacturing Co. and Chuetsu Electro Chemical Co.
- 1952, Mitsubishi: Mitsubishi is renamed Mitsubishi Nippon Heavy-Industries, Ltd.
- 1953, Jungheinrich: Establishment of H. Jungheinrich & Co. Maschinenfabrik (Germany).
- 1953, Allis-Chalmers: Allis-Chalmers acquires the Buda Engine Co., adding diesel engines to its product line.
- 1956, Toyota: Toyota Motor Corporation (Japan) introduces its first forklift model, the LA 1-ton truck.
- 1956, Towmotor: Towmotor acquires Gerlinger Carrier Company.
- 1957, Nissan: The first Nissan (Japan) forklift is produced.
- 1958, Heli: Anhui Heli (China) is established
1960 – 1980
1960s, Doosan: Korea Machinery Co., Ltd. begins importing forklifts as part of a national machinery expansion project.
- 1962, Halla: Hyundai International Inc. is founded.
- 1963, Yale: Yale merges with Eaton Manufacturing.
- 1963, Towmotor: Towmotor acquires Ohio Gear Company.
- 1965, Caterpillar, Towmotor: Towmotor becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of Caterpillar Tractor Company.
- 1968, Hyster acquires Lewis-Shepard (USA Mass.)
- 1976, TCM: TCM America (MBK), Inc. is established.
- 1976, Doosan: Korea Machinery merges into Daewoo Heavy Industries Ltd.
- 1977, Baker, Linde: Linde acquires Baker Material Handling Corporation. Baker Forklift parts are now known as Linde forklift parts.
- 1978, Halla: Hyundai International Inc. is rebranded as the Halla Group (South Korea).
1980 – 2000
- 1980s, Allis-Chalmers: Allis-Chalmers begins selling off some of its subsidiaries in the face of rapid economic change.
- 1980, Hoist: Forklift Exchange is founded in the suburbs of Chicago, IL.
- 1983, Hyster: Hyster closes Portland OR manufacturing plant
- 1984, Hyster: Hyster Company is acquired by ESCO Corporation.
- 1984, Linde: Linde acquires Fenwick, the largest French lift truck manufacturer.
- 1985, Yale: Yale is acquired by NACCO Industries, Inc., and Yale Materials Handling Corporation is established.
- 1985, Komatsu: Komatsu America Manufacturing Corp. and Komatsu America Industries LLC are both established in the U.S.
- 1986, Cascade: Cascade forms a joint venture with Xiamen Forklift Company of China (Xiamen-Cascade Corp., Ltd.).
- 1988, Toyota: Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing, Inc. (TIEM) is established in Indiana as a joint venture with Toyota Motor Corporation.
- 1988, TCM: TCM Manufacturing USA, Inc. is founded.
- 1988, Kalmar: Kalmar takes over Allis Chalmers forklift activities effectively ending Allis Chalmers brand name in forklift industry.
- 1988, Prime-Mover: Prime-Mover is acquired by BT Industries AB of Sweden.
- 1989, Hyster: Hyster Company is acquired by NACCO Industries, Inc.
- 1989, Linde: Linde acquires Lansing Bagnall, a British forklift manufacturer.
- 1992, Yale: Yale Europe Materials Handling is established.
- 1992, Caterpillar, Mitsubishi: Caterpillar and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries together form Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift America, Inc. (MCFA).
- 1993, Nissan: Nissan Forklift Corporation North America is established.
- 1993, Komatsu: Komatsu Cummins Engine Co., Ltd. and Cummins Komatsu Engine Company are established in Japan and the U.S., respectively.
- 1994, Hyster, Yale: NACCO Materials Handling Group, Inc. (NMHG) is established.
- 1994, Hoist: Forklift Exchange acquires Silent Hoist and Crane, a Brooklyn-based company. It is rebranded as Hoist Liftruck Manufacturing, Inc. (USA).
- 1994, Jungheinrich. Jungheinrich takes over UK based Boss group.
- 1995, Toyota: Toyota Industrial Equipment, S.A. (TIESA) is established in France as a joint venture with Toyota Motor Corporation and Manitou B.F.
- 1997, BT, Raymond: Raymond Corp. is acquired by BT Industries AB for $353 million, and BT Raymond is established.
- 1997, Halla: Halla collapses under the pressure of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.
- 1998, Clark: Clark Material Handling Company acquires the Samsung Fork Lift Company of Korea.
- 1998, Allis-Chalmers: The remaining Allis-Chalmers manufacturing companies are divested.
- 1998, Combilift: Combilift started in Ireland
- 1999, Kalmar-AC: Kalmar sells the former Allis Chalmers business unit it acquired in 1988 to Komatsu. Kalmar remains a big lift truck/reach stacker specialist. Komatsu attempts to market units under Tusk brand name but eventually discontinues Tusk in 2010.
2000 – present day
- 2000, BT, Toyota: Toyota acquires BT Industries AB of Sweden.
- 2000, Komatsu: Komatsu establishes global collaboration with the Linde Group in manufacture and sales of lift trucks, agreeing to make Komatsu Forklift Co., Ltd. a joint venture between the two.
- 2000, Komatsu: Komatsu acquires Hensley Industries, Inc.
- 2000, CESAB, Toyota: Toyota Industries Group acquires CESAB.
- 2000, Hoist: Hoist acquires Elwell-Parker.
- 2001, Hoist: Hoist acquires Schreck and Autolift.
- 2003, Clark: Clark Material Handling Company is acquired by Young An Hat Company of Korea.
- 2004, Kone: KCI Konecranes acquires SMV
- 2005, Doosan: Doosan acquires Daewoo Heavy Industries.
- 2005, Toyota: Toyota Material Handling Group (TMHG) is established.
- 2006, Linde: Linde Material Handling breaks off from the Linde Group and becomes a part of the KION Group. The KION Group is then acquired by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
- 2006, Prime Mover: BT decides to discontinue offering Prime Mover brand
- 2006, JLG: JLG transitions to Oshkosh ownership.
- 2006, Bourgas buys 70 percent of Balkancar company.
- 2007, Nissan: Nissan Forklift acquires Atlet AB. Need atlet forklift parts? We have them.
- 2007, Komatsu: Komatsu Forklift Co., Ltd. is integrated into Komatsu Utility Co., Ltd. after Komatsu buys out Linde’s portion of the joint venture (lasted 7 years see year 2000 above).
- 2007, Doosan: Doosan acquires Bobcat USA.
- 2007, Doosan: Doosan creates USD50M company for Bobcat, and completes Bobcat acquisition.
- 2007, Kalmar: Kalmar buys CVS Ferrari.
- 2008, Manitou: Manitou acquires Gehl in friendly deal.
- 2008, Terex: Terex buys Fantuzzi.
- 2008, Terex: After some set backs and concerns announced by Terex, the company completes buy and copes with slowdown.
- 2009, EP: EP acquires BIGJOE, and sets up BIGLIFT, LLC
- 2009, TCM: TCM Corporation becomes a subsidiary of Hitachi Construction Machinery Co., Ltd.
- 2010, Jungheinrich: Jungheinrich enters into an agreement with Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift America to supply narrow aisle and walkie equipment to the MCF USA network.
- 2011, UniCarriers: UniCarriers Holdings Corporation (Japan) is established.
- 2012, Hyster, Yale: Hyster-Yale Materials Handling, Inc. is established as an offshoot of NMHG (NACCO Industries, Inc.).
- 2012, Nissan, TCM, UniCarriers: Nissan Forklift Co., Ltd. and TCM Corporation join UniCarriers Group.
- 2012, Linde: Weichai Power becomes an investor in the KION Group.
- 2012, Cascade, Toyota: Cascade is acquired by Toyota Industries.
- 2014, UniCarriers: UniCarriers acquires Crepa B.V., a Dutch forklift sales company, and New England Industrial Truck, Inc.
- 2014, Toyota: Toyota set to buy Tailift.
- 2015, Jungheinrich: Jungheinrich buys MIAS Group.
- 2015, Mitsubishi, UniCarriers: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. acquires UniCarriers in an attempt to compete with Toyota and the KION Group, the world’s top forklift manufacturers.
- 2015, Toyota, Hoist: Hoist and Toyota enter private label agreement with Toyota Material Handling (USA).
This information was gathered from the histories published on the websites of the various companies included on the timeline. Supporting information was also found through news sites, like those linked in some of the information above.
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