Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) this week announced plans to expand its manufacturing presence in China to further meet growing customer demand there. The company will produce mini-hydraulic excavator models in the under-8-ton range at the new facility in Wujiang. The facility will be part of Caterpillar's Building Construction Products Division, which has manufacturing operations in the United States, Japan, Brazil and the United Kingdom.
"China is the world's largest market for excavators in the below-8-ton class, and the development of this new facility will better position Caterpillar to provide our customers in China with solutions that will help them succeed," said Mary Bell, Caterpillar vice president of the Building Construction Products Division.
Work on the new facility in Wujiang is expected to begin in late 2010 pending approvals from governmental officials in Jiangsu province. The company expects to begin producing mini-excavators in Wujiang in 2012. Currently Caterpillar supplies Chinese customers with mini-excavators produced at Caterpillar's facility in Xuzhou, China, and with machines produced in Sagami, Japan. Once the facility in Wujiang is producing machines, the operations in Xuzhou and Sagami will then be able to increase capacity for other Caterpillar products.
The new facility is part of Caterpillar's long-term capacity investment plan for China, which when completed, will position Caterpillar for industry-leading equipment manufacturing capacity among construction equipment manufacturers in China.
"During the past three decades Caterpillar has grown from a single sales office in Beijing to our cross-country footprint of today — which includes 11 manufacturing facilities, three research and development centers, nine offices and two logistics and parts centers," said Jiming Zhu, Caterpillar vice president with responsibility for China. "We want Caterpillar customers to be more successful working with us, than they can be working with anyone else, and this new operation in Wujiang is the latest step in our long-term strategy for helping our customers win in China."
In recent years, Caterpillar and its independent dealers have made significant investments to expand the range of products and components produced in China; increase and improve customer support services; and expand and enhance dealer coverage in every province. Today, Caterpillar has more than 6,000 employees across China.
Headquartered in Peoria, Ill., Caterpillar Inc. is a leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, and industrial gas turbines.