The top 20 forklift suppliers in 2019: the market reaches new heights

After setting a new high in 2017, the North American crane truck market sold more than 250,000 new vehicles last year, surpassing itself again. According to the Industrial Truck Association (ITA), this is an increase of 2.8% over 2017, and most of the crane truck categories have achieved steady growth.
ITA said that the total sales of crane trucks at the end of the year were 260,180, of which the sales of electric and internal combustion trucks increased at a similar rate (showing annual growth rates of 2.8% and 2.7%, respectively). The association reported that, overall, electrical products accounted for approximately 64% of the market last year, of which the industrial forklift market contributed more than $25 billion to the US GDP each year. Canada and Mexico remain the two largest exporters of American forklift manufacturers.
Like its North American counterparts, forklift manufacturers from other regions of the world also achieved considerable growth in sales last year.
Each of the top five companies has grown by more than 5% over last year. Today’s leaders, especially Toyota and KION, continue to expand their business beyond industrial trucks and expand into the broad market of supply chain services.
Scott Johnson, chairman of ITA and vice president of marketing and sales for Clark Material Handling Company (ranked 10th this year), believes that “very healthy” industries can support the growth of most asset classes and manufacturers. He said: “As an industry, we are the beneficiaries of consecutive years of growth, which enables manufacturers to invest in their facilities and manufacturing processes.” “Today, everyone is producing world-class products.”
The Industrial Truck Association (ITA, has defined seven types of crane trucks or forklifts, which are defined by engine type, working environment, operator location and equipment characteristics.
Since the first to fifth categories are mainly used for material handling applications in the four walls, Modern only specifies it on our supplier list.
The forklift industry may be a mature industry, but this does not mean that manufacturers engaged in this industry will stand still. These companies understand the limitations that end users face in today’s e-commerce/omnichannel distribution environment, so they are constantly looking for new ways to help these users work smarter, better and safer.
Johnson said: “As a manufacturer group, we are constantly looking for ways to improve truck manufacturing methods and truck safety.” “In this sense, I am proud of my colleagues.”
With the continuous development of e-commerce, Johnson said that forklift manufacturers have put forward new requirements for level 3 trucks (electric trolleys) and other vehicles that support high-speed/high-speed storage environments. Johnson said: “E-commerce is a real factor in some of the things we are currently doing, and it is indeed driving strong sales in the industry.”
Johnson said that cumulatively, ITA has shown a very balanced performance across all forklift categories, including electric forklifts (category 1 and category 2) and internal combustion engine trucks (category 4 and category 5). He said that the market is increasingly embracing electric vehicles. This phenomenon is expanding the overall sales of forklifts and eroding some “traditional IC bandwidth.”
Johnson said: “When the performance characteristics of the electric truck are equal to or greater than that of the IC truck, this is the real game changer.” “The product has matured enough to be acceptable to the market, and consumers or end users think it can be used.”
This marks a considerable change from the historical concept that traditional internal/external DC applications require IC or diesel trucks. Johnson said: “This is not the case today.” “There are now electric trucks that can handle tasks and perform tasks in the same way as IC balance trucks. This really changes the vitality of the market.”
Wearing an ITA hat and looking at the current market, Johnson sees that there are many lithium-ion, multi-shift and zero-emission electric forklift options on the market. Johnson said: “For many buyers today, these are attractive qualities, including small-scale family operations and large national accounts. This represents a fairly broad appeal.”
Johnson said that as the number of forklifts in use continues to increase and the number of operators required to operate forklifts increases, the ITA and its members are paying more and more attention to safety and training. At the National Forklift Safety Day in Washington, DC in 2019, ITA members discussed that there are currently more than 4.5 million trucks operating in more than 300 industries across the country.
Johnson said that this proves the impact of forklift manufacturers and distributors on the US economy, as well as the critical nature of operator training and workplace safety.
Johnson said: “Safety operators are trained operators, and trained operators are safety operators. This sounds simple, but we do believe it.” “Although we are all extremely competitive in the market, But in terms of engineering standards, safety, and other industry-wide concerns, we can all work together to have a positive and fruitful dialogue and then reach a consensus on what is best for the industry. For the operators.”
You cannot maintain steady growth for 48 months without at least some growth troubles, and during this time, the forklift industry is facing many challenges. For example, persistent labor shortages and the nation’s persistent 3.6% unemployment rate make it more difficult than ever to find, recruit, and retain the labor needed to make trucks. It is also elusive that new dealers want to adopt a new crane truck production line, which is Johnson’s challenge to ineffective succession planning.
Johnson said: “As an industry, we strive to bring in new blood, or are willing to join and take advantage of the next wave of leaders who are truly big business.” “This is an ongoing problem for us.”
This year, the political environment and its related tariffs and trade wars are not a good thing for any manufacturer doing business on a global scale. Johnson called the current political environment one of the “biggest obstacles to the crane truck industry,” and he said ITA supports free and fair trade.
Johnson said: “Our unified message to the Washington, DC leadership is that we don’t think tariffs are the way to go.” “We do think we need free and fair trade and good trading partners, but whether it’s entry or export, Tariffs are a challenge for our industry.”
Despite the challenges that may be faced this year, the North American crane truck industry is in a good position, breaking another record when the number reached a record in 2019. Johnson acknowledged that a record year with sustained sales would bring difficulties, saying that a small slowdown would still translate into a large number of orders in a strong industry.
Johnson said: “I’m still cautiously optimistic.” “When I look back at the momentum and inertia of our industry over the past five to seven years, that’s great. Even if we have a slight correction in 2019, it will be wonderful Year.”
The Global Industrial Truck Statistics (WITS) organization tracks quarterly and monthly statistics on forklift sales. Its reports are compiled by six trade organizations in North America, Brazil, Japan, South Korea, Europe, and China.
According to WITS data in 2018, global orders increased by 10.25%, and global shipments increased by 11.68%. Other highlights of the 2018 WITS data include:
In order to qualify for Modern’s annual ranking of top 20 crane truck suppliers, the company must manufacture and sell crane trucks in at least one of the seven truck categories of the Industrial Truck Association. Electric trolleys; internal combustion engines; pneumatic tire electric and internal combustion engine tractors; and off-road forklifts.
The ranking is based on each company’s global revenue for power industrial trucks in the most recent fiscal year. The income figures submitted in foreign currencies are calculated using the exchange rate on December 31, 2018.
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Post time: Oct-21-2020

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