Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift America Inc. (MCFA), the Houston, Texas-based manufacturer of forklifts under the Cat Lift Trucks, Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks, and Jungheinrich brands, has announced that it will expand its production capacity in Houston by more than 40 percent.
The plan includes a new building that will be devoted to production, assembly, and testing of electric-powered forklifts, including the newly introduced Jungheinrich ECR 327/336 series of electric end-rider pallet trucks as well as future Jungheinrich models the company is developing for the North American market. Previously, all of the German manufacturer's trucks sold here had been imported from Europe.
The larger facility will help MCFA respond to the electric truck market's continued strong growth, said Kent Eudy, MCFA Vice President, Sales and Marketing, in an interview. MCFA will move all of its current electric truck production and assembly out of the existing building and into the new one.
That move will free up space to build heavy-duty 36,000-lb. pneumatic trucks that are now manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Japan. It also will allow MCFA to manufacture Cat Lift Trucks' and Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks' 6-16 ton internal combustion models to meet the demand of customers worldwide. MCFA currently has responsibility for all sales in the Western Hemiäphere; with the expansion, it will also become the worldwide source for large pneumatics as well as for any Tier 4 emissions-control products outside North America, Eudy said.
In addition, MCFA will expand its parts warehouse to accommodate the additional production and assembly activities.
"This diversification will ensure longevity for this organization," Eudy said. For example, if the economy declines and demand slows in North America, MCFA will still have export markets in other regions to absorb some of that decline, he explained.
MCFA expects to break ground in the first quarter of 2013. Once the new facility is up and running, Eudy said, "We will be manufacturing all five classes of lift trucks in Houston. To my knowledge, nobody else does that in one location."