With an eye on growing American market share, Germany-based equipment maker Liebherr is expanding it's offerings in the U.S. with a lineup of machines set to debut at CONEXPO 2014 and an articulated dump truck coming in 2015.
"We need to increase our coverage," said Peter Mayr, president of Liebherr Construction Equipment Co. at a trade press held Sept. 12 in Newport News, Va. "At the moment we do not have enough dealers out there; there are some very important areas where we need to close some gaps," he added, predicting that "we see our U.S. market share increasing in the next five to seven years by 300%."
Liebherr offers a diverse selection of construction equipment in Europe, but has only brought some of its heavier machines to the U.S. market. "We really limit what we bring into the States now," says Tim Doucette, general manager. "Liebherr has a very broad range of equipment, and we bring in this much of it. What we've been trying really in the past five years is to get Europeans to understand that the market is so much bigger here."
One European machine already being tested with American users is a Liebherr articulated dump truck, the 30-metric-ton TA230. "Liebherr's been messing around with articulated trucks for the better part of ten years," said Doucette. Liebherr first introduced the TA230 in Europe three years ago in its rental fleet, and has been selling it at retail for two years. The 40-metric-ton TA240 was introduced at Bauma 2013.
"We'd love to have that [TA230] truck, but it's not ready for us," says Doucette. "Our initial thought was take the truck and introduce it at CONEXPO and then start that whole process, and then we just said: you know what, let's just get it right, do the limited introduction, the testing phase."
Even without the ADT, Liebherr still has something in store for CONEXPO next year. In addition to a new dozer, Liebherr is planning to show off a new pile driver, concrete pump, excavator and four cranes that will be new to North America.
The waste-handling industry is just one business sector Liebherr is targeting in the U.S. The company already offers a line of scrap handlers and is looking to expand into other specialites, including logging and demolition. "Scrap handling is the main focus and will remain the main focus, but we see waste recycling coming very strong," says Mayr. "We also must look at demolition: We have a fantastic range of high-range demolition machines, all factory built, not like manufacturing company going in and chopping the machine up. These are all assembled in the factory from scratch."
U.S. Tier-4 diesel emission regulations are one motivator behind Liebherr's push into the States.
"The Tier 4 introduction, and the requirements for Tier 4, that really has changed the whole industry," Doucette said. "If we're going to be successful and recoup our investments in Tier 4, we've gotta come to the States and we've gotta be serious about it. Europe, for Liebherr, is pretty much as big as we're gonna get."