JCB expands in the East

India overtook the UK as construction machine manufacturer JCB's single largest market in 2007.  The firm's annual report has announced sales of more than 17,000 machines, up from 10,800 the previous year.

India overtook the UK as construction machine manufacturer JCB's single largest market in 2007.  The firm's annual report has announced sales of more than 17,000 machines, up from 10,800 the previous year.

The news comes as the company eyes the emerging markets in the east. Emerging markets, including India, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland and Russia, are also major customers of the ,firm's machines, according to the report.

The news comes as JCB unveils 21 new products, including tracked excavators, mini excavators, telescopic handlers and skid steer loaders, at the Conexpo construction equipment show in Las Vegas, USA, to bring its total machine line-up to 290 machines.

JCB Managing Director and CEO John Patterson said: "Our business has doubled in four years, with sales increasing from 36,000 machines in 2004 to 72,000 last year. This is an outstanding achievement and testament to the hard work of the JCB workforce and dealers worldwide."

However, there are concerns that the sector will be affected by the credit crunch and the downturn in North America, where the market fell by 13 per cent during 2007. European economies are expected to come under pressure as the combined impact of slowing exports to the US and tighter, higher cost credit takes effect. In particular, the impact is expected to be felt in the house building market to which construction is so closely linked.

Despite those concerns, JCB is forging ahead with its investment in global production facilities during 2008. The company is investing US $60 million to double capacity at the backhoe loader production facility near Delhi, due for completion later this year in order to serve the Indian and Middle East markets.

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