The first container load of Japanese-built Yanmar compact excavators is soon to arrive in the US following the North American sales alliance agreed between Manitou and Yanmar earlier this year. In a separate development, production of Manitou's rough terrain forklifts is being shifted to the Gehl facility in Waco, Texas, US. Currently, these models are built both in France and the US. The Yanmar excavators will be sold by Manitou under the Gehl and Mustang brands in North America. Previously, Manitou/Gehl sold Wacker Neuson excavators in North America. The Yanmar alliance is a two-way arrangement, with the first Gehl-built skid steers and compact tracked loaders also now on their way to Yanmar for sale in North America under the Yanmar brand, said Dan Miller, president of Manitou's Compact Equipment division, which includes the Gehl and Mustang brands. Mr Miller, speaking to IRN at Manitou's ‘Festival' customer and dealer event in Spain, said; "Orders [for the excavators] will start flowing in June and we'll be up to full flow by the fourth quarter." Although the partnership covers only North America Mr Miller said a possible next step could see the alliance extended to Latin America. Manitou is also in the process of shifting all production of its range of rough terrain forklifts to Gehl's Waco, Texas facility. Production of these machines was previously shared between the US and France, but production in entirety will be switched to the US. Mr Miller said he could see annual volumes of around 700 units initially, rising to between 1000 and 2000 units. He said Manitou North America could see a 30% increase in sales this year after a 50% rise last year, with rental company re-fleeting leading to robust demand; "Right now with telehandlers I can't build enough."
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