To try to keep up with the growing demand for its equipment, Kubota is moving production of its SVL65 compact track loader from Japan to a new facility in Salinas, Kansas.
The Construction Equipment Facility will be operated by Kubota subsidiary Great Plains Manufacturing. The company plans to have 190 employees at the facility by the end of 2022, with plans to grow to more than 900 employees in the future, according to Linda Salem, president and CEO of Great Plains Manufacturing.
The company says the investment will help meet demand for Kubota equipment in the United States by bringing manufacturing closer to customers. During the recent Kubota Connect dealer event, company officials said supply of equipment was the leading concern for its dealers.
“That's been top of mind in 2022 with the insatiable appetite that the market has right now,” said Tim Boulds, Kubota assistant director of construction equipment product marketing.
The time it takes to ship products from Japan coupled with supply-chain problems has made getting products to U.S. customers more difficult in the past couple of years.
Todd Stucke, senior vice president of sales and marketing, said Kubota is investing $1.1 billion in North America. That includes moving the SVL65 to Kansas. Other examples included moving production of its SSV skid steers to Georgia and building a new loader factory in Georgia.
“We are localizing as much as we can,” Stucke said, “and that will allow us to work with our suppliers to build great partnerships, so we can get the kind of volume we need.”
The first phase of construction at the Kansas facility, which was completed earlier this year, included a $53 million expansion and renovation of a 750,000-square-foot facility that had been vacated by another company.
Construction on the second phase is set to be completed in mid-2024. The $124 million investment will include installing an automotive-grade, eco-paint system with two paint lines, expanded welding, assembly and fabrication areas, and constructing a building addition.
“The grand opening of our new CE Facility is a major step in growing as a manufacturing hub for Kubota construction equipment with investments totaling over $178 million through 2024. This investment continues to reaffirm Kubota’s commitment to America’s heartland,” said Salem.
As the project nears completion, other types of Kubota construction equipment will be produced at the facility.