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In the past decade, the forklift industry has undergone many changes. Due in part to the recession of 2007-2009, a shift in technology and lift truck fleet management has led to a reconfiguration of how forklifts are used in larger industries. Lift truck users since the recession have been focusing on long-term solutions for their ventures, in turn affecting the role that forklifts play in their daily business operations.
Recently, however, such significant shifts have begun to level out. According to the Worldwide Industrial Truck Statistics organization, global lift truck orders in 2013 increased by 7% as compared to 2012. While orders in Europe have yet to recover, shipments to North America and South America have increased, and shipments to Asia have jumped up a shocking 46% since 2008. In recent years, the Americas have actually shown the strongest growth in lift truck orders of the six global regions, which include Africa and Oceania.
The 2014 edition of the Top 20 lift truck suppliers, a list released annually by Modern Materials Handling, also shows a steady leveling of the forklift market in recent years. Since 2011, Toyota Industries Corporation, encompassing brands like Toyota and Raymond, has been the world’s No. 1 lift truck supplier. It remains ahead of constant second place KION Group, which is recognized in North America by its brand Linde. In the 2014 report, Jungheinrich, Hyster-Yale, Crown, Mitsubishi, and UniCarriers make up spots 3 through 7, respectively, with other familiar brands like Komatsu, Clark, and Doosan filling spots 10 through 12.
The top five lift truck suppliers have all been on a growth trend since 2011. Between 2013 and 2014, Toyota revenues increased 12%, as did the revenues of KION between 2011 and 2012. In general, these increases have been attributed to the acquisition of smaller companies (Toyota buying out Cascade Corp., for example) and the launch of new lift truck models. In addition, growth in Asian, European, and American markets showed an increase in demand for lift trucks and associated products.
At this point, the revenue needed to claim a Top 10 spot is $900 million. The closest company to reaching this goal is Clark Material Handling International, ranked eleventh with $708 million in revenue. In addition, the total revenue of all companies in the Top 20 list approaches $31.5 billion, a figure that has increased almost 20% since 2011. Above all, this increase indicates the extent to which the lift truck industry has not only stabilized but even grown in recent years amid recovery from the 2007-2009 recession. As Brian Butler, president and CEO of Linde Material Handling North America puts it, “Customers are becoming smarter about materials handling in general.” Consumers have begun recognizing lift trucks as long-term opportunities, not just necessities, and MMH’s 2014 Top 20 list reflects this.
For more information, visit http://www.mmh.com/article/top_20_lift_truck_suppliers_2014, the source for this post.