Takeuchi Buying S.C. Kobelco Plant Where Layoffs Occurred Last Year

Ryan Whisner
Takeuchi TL6R
Acquisition of the Kobelco facility in South Carolina is expected to boost production for Takeuchi by as much as 40 percent.
Takeuchi

Takeuchi Manufacturing-U.S. is taking a step to increase its capacity and speed of compact track loader production and delivery in the North American market with acquisition of an excavator plant from Kobelco Construction Machinery.

The $34.35 million acquisition of the Moore, South Carolina plant is expected to boost production capacity by nearly 40 percent. Kobelco had laid off workers at the plant last year, citing engine supply problems. 

Closing on the plant transfer is slated for April with additional investments into the facility being possible.

The site is approximately 370,000 square yards, including space for offices, manufacturing and a demonstration area.

Production at the plant is expected to resume later in 2022. 

“We continue to invest and grow,” said Clay Eubanks, Takeuchi director of global sales, on LinkedIn. “With this investment, we will be looking for new team members to grow our procurement, quality, health and safety and HR functions, among others in Spartanburg.”

The company says it will carry out 70 percent of the production process in Japan and complete the work in the U.S. for faster deliveries in its biggest market.

In 2021, Takeuchi Manufacturing compact track loaders were recognized as having the lowest cost of ownership in their machine categories by EquipmentWatch, a database and information provider for the construction and heavy equipment industries. 

The company’s five compact track loaders range from the 1,841-pound TL6R up to the 4,107-pound TL12V2.

According to Kobelco, there will be no impact on Kobelco Construction Machinery’s business activities in North America because of the sale.

“The transfer (closure) of the North American plant is part of the revision and enhancement of KCM's global production structure in response to the increasingly fierce competition in the market, and KCM will continue to consider what it can do for the revision and enhancement of its global production structure including the complementation of its production capacity,” a Kobelco press release stated.

Kobelco Construction Machinery had re-entered the North American market in 2013 and has been selling its products through its North American subsidiary Kobelco Construction Machinery U.S.A Inc. 

To expand its sales and share in North America, the plant in South Carolina was built to address the burden of manufacturing hydraulic excavators at its main plant in Itsukaichi, Japan. 

Since opening in March 2016, efforts were put into manufacturing the main models for the North American market at that facility. The 1,000th excavator was produced at the plant in 2019.

However, production at the facility was suspended in May 2021 after issues were found with the emissions certifications for the excavator engines. Kobelco had originally intended to resume operations this fall or later.    

Under those circumstances, Takeuchi-U.S. made its offer to acquire the plant, and Kobelco officials determined that selling the plant would be better for the improvement of its corporate value than maintaining and resuming production.

Manufacturing of all models that had issues in certification had been suspended. This spring Kobelco will resume production and sale of all models that had issues with engine certifications by manufacturing excavators at the Itsukaichi plant and crawler cranes at the Okubo plant as new models with alternative engines.

Leveraging the resumption of sale of the new models equipped with alternative engines, KCM will continue to bolster its sales structure, including enhancement of distributor retail sales and expansion and improvement of financial services, to increase its presence in North America, the company says.