Caterpillar May Bring Some Japanese Production Back to U.S.

March 11, 2010
Company looks to build new facility in the U.S. that would absorb some production from overseas.

Caterpillar Inc. said March 11 it is considering the construction of a new hydraulic excavator plant in the United States that could result in the transfer of some production from Japan.

The new facility would manufacturer two excavator models currently being produced at a plant in Aurora, Ill., and several lines now produced in Japan and exported to the United States.

The new plant would have the potential to triple the current capacity of hydraulic excavators now produced by the company in the United States and add a significant number of U.S. jobs, the company said.

The plan would help the company's Akashi, Japan, excavator facility add capacity to better serve customers in the expanding Asia-Pacific region. Long-term forecasts for the Asia-Pacific region indicate the company may need to increase capacity and employment at the Akashi facility to help meet demand. A final decision regarding this study will be made at a later date, the company said.

If approved, the new U.S.-based factory would be the primary North American source for excavators.

"The study is based on the current analysis of where the global excavator market is heading and how Caterpillar should position itself for continued leadership in the excavator industry," said Gary Stampanato, Caterpillar vice president with responsibility for excavators.

The study is part of a long-term strategic initiative to develop the appropriate global footprint needed to competitively produce hydraulic excavators, the company said.

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