As it continues to rationalize its brand lineup, JLG Industries says its Lull telehanders will, in 2015, no longer have a place in the company portfolio.
"The market for Lull telehandler models has been in decline for several years," says Brian Boeckman, JLG global product director, who also cites the extra cost of U.S. Tier-4 clean-diesel compliance as a reason to cease production.
JLG acquired Lull from Textron in 2003 along with SkyTrak. Now a unit of Oshkosh, a large military supplier, JLG also acquired lucrative defense products from the Textron deal. Since 1997, the U.S. Army has fielded thousands of so-called ATLAS telehanders based on SkyTrak machines.
Lull is an early telehandler pioneer. Since 1959, contractors have relied on Lull forklifts, which became especially popular among masonry builders. The machines also contained a signature feature—a sliding boom that extended their forward reach beyond such machines' typical working envelopes.
However, premium-brand Lull has suffered from falling sales due to increasing demand from rental companies and other buyers wanting machines that serve a broader market for a lower cost. Gradall, a brand of blue rear-pivot-steer machines that JLG discontinued in 2009, also fell victim to this trend.
"They were both niche machines and do not fit into the business model rental companies are establishing," says Guy Ramsey, president of Maximum Capacity Media, a trade publisher. "This is just one more manifestation that the rental industry is dictating what is and is not going to succeed."
Smaller players, such as Xtreme, continue to build niche telehandlers. And Pettibone, a telehandler manufacturer based in Baraga, Mich., offers machines with a sliding boom and would be a likely candidate to fill orders when Lull exits next year.
"There are still applications, mostly masonry, and if they have the ability to capitalize on this, Pettibone could go after the balance of this niche market with its own Traverse line," Ramsey says.