Manitowoc and Kobelco are to end their badging agreement for smaller lattice crawler cranes.
The agreement was officially signed in November 2003 for North America only, with the first Manitowoc badged Kobelco cranes delivered in the second quarter of 2004. See Kobelco to supply crawler cranes to Manitowoc
The deal, which covered cranes up to 136 tonnes (150 tons) was extended to include Europe and Africa in 2005, but we understand that only few units were sold outside of North America. See What a difference a day makes
Kobleco also supplied Manitowoc with a Grove branded 45 tonne City-type All Terrain, the GCK3045 from 2009. See New Grove City crane.
Although it was not a great success in terms of sales and was dropped after a year or two.
On the other side of the coin the deal also included the supply of Kobelco branded versions of the Grove GMK 5130 and GMK 6300 All Terrain cranes for sale by Kobelco in Japan. As far as we are aware this part of the deal has also not been particularly successful.
The agreement will officially end on November 9th this year, when it was due for renewal. The two companies will continue to supply replacement parts for each other’s cranes to 10 years.
Manitowoc chief executive Barry Pennypacker said: “As a world leader in lattice boom crawler cranes, Manitowoc provided our customers with a comprehensive line through our alliance with Kobelco. The company has been an excellent partner, providing our customers with a high standard of product quality and reliability. After nearly 15 years, we have agreed to pursue separate ways developing our own products in the smaller capacity cranes to serve our respective customers. With the implementation of The Manitowoc Way, we will continue to deliver new and innovative quality products, on time, ensuring that our customers continue to have the right product offerings.”
Kobelco chief executive Kazuhide Naraki added: “Manitowoc has an outstanding reputation around the world and offered a strong distribution network in regions it serves globally. I can say our partnership was very successful between two highly respected industry players joining forces. I feel strongly that both companies share the same approach - focusing on customers with care and bringing to market reliable products which have a high standard of quality and safety. We look forward to a new chapter in growing our businesses.”
This is not entirely surprising news, the deal had worked relatively well in North America, keeping Manitowoc in the smaller lattice boomed crawler crane market. However, it is entirely likely that the company will announce a new small crawler crane range of its own at an event it is holding at its Shady Grove plant next week. At the same time there have been rumours that Kobelco has plans to extend its range of Rough Terrain telescopic cranes and start exporting them over a wider area.
The agreement served its initial purpose very well, but did not seem capable to grow in to anything more, and had probably outlived its usefulness making it the right time to bring it to an end.