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Caterpillar Inc. on Aug. 24 announced an expansion of the company’s operations in China in what the company says is in support of the company’s strategy to grow its business to a leadership position in China.
Representatives from Caterpillar and the Xitong Technical Industrial Park Administrative Committee signed an investment agreement to build a state-of-the-art proving ground and a large wheel loader manufacturing facility in Tongzhou, Jiangsu Province.
The Asia Pacific Proving Ground (APPG) is an expansion of Caterpillar’s research and development presence in Asia and will provide validation and product development services for Caterpillar machinery produced in China and the Asia/Pacific region.
The large wheel loader manufacturing facility will produce a new model of wheel loader that is being developed at Caterpillar’s Wuxi Research and Development (R&D) Center. The new wheel loader will support customer demand in China and other growth markets.
“The Asia Pacific Proving Ground will be critical for Caterpillar to develop and validate the right products for growth markets quickly and cost effectively,” said Tana
Utley, Caterpillar vice president and chief technology officer with responsibility for the Product Development and Global Technology Division. “After this new proving ground is open, Caterpillar will be better positioned to compete and support its growing customer base in China and across Asia,” Utley added.
The site in Tongzhou is located in close proximity to several of Caterpillar’s existing manufacturing facilities in China, as well as being near the majority of the company’s existing supply base in China. Caterpillar currently has 16 manufacturing facilities, three research and development centers and three logistics and parts centers in China.
“The large wheel loaders we are going to make in Tongzhou will give customers a new option that has been designed to suit the needs and requirements for mining applications in China and growth markets,” said Luis de Leon, Caterpillar vice president with responsibility for the Mining Products Division. “By locating the wheel loader facility with the proving ground and near several other Caterpillar operations and our supply base, we will leverage Caterpillar’s total business model to speed product development cycle times with unmatched engineering and supply chain support,” de Leon added.
The Asia Pacific Proving Ground is expected to be operational in the third quarter of 2012. The large wheel loader facility is expected to start production in the fourth quarter of 2012.
“This is another important step as Caterpillar continues to invest in its business in China to support our customers who continue to play a role in the transformation of the
Chinese economy,” said Kevin Thieneman, Caterpillar country manager for China, in a written statement.