11 January 2002

US acquisitions see Volvo move into agriculture

By Geoff Ashcroft

VOLVO Construction Equipment has plans to enter the agricultural industry with a new range of telehandlers and skid steer loaders, after its acquisition of two American machinery businesses.

The first sees Volvo buying exclusive rights to product design and manufacture of the telescopic handler business from UpRight based in California. The second take-over sees Volvo acquiring the manufacturing and product design rights of Scat Trak, the skid-steer loader business of Textron subsidiary OmniQuip based in Wisconsin.

"This is an excellent opportunity for us to acquire two strategically important product lines, expand our dealer and customer offering, and to integrate manufacture of the machines within the framework of our existing global production facilities," says Tony Helsham, president and CEO of Volvo Construction Equipment.

Both product ranges will expand Volvoûs compact equipment offering primarily for the construction industry, while finally giving the company access to the agricultural sector with two product ranges suited to the demands of agricultural users.

The telehandler range includes six models from 2.7t up to 3.6t, in both low-slung and high boom versions, while the Scat Trak range extends to eight models with operating capacities from 615kg up to 1100kg. The Swedish firm says both product lines will be further developed before being relaunched globally as Volvo products. Skid steers loaders will be launched this autumn, while the Volvo telehandler range will appear in 2003.

"The UpRight product is a very strong platform from which we can develop a dedicated Volvo range of telehandlers," says Didier Teirlinck, head of Volvo CEs compact equipment business. "And compared with the markets leading skid steer loaders, the Scat Trak machine emerged as a very competitive product." &#42