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Caterpillar to phase out seven mini-excavators

Caterpillar has ended its partnership with Wacker Neuson and shifted its mini-excavator production activities in-house

Seven of Caterpillar's existing smallest hydraulic excavators, weighing less than three tonnes, will be phased out.
Seven of Caterpillar's existing smallest hydraulic excavators, weighing less than three tonnes, will be phased out.

Caterpillar has announced plans to shift the design and production of its smallest hydraulic excavators, weighing less than three tonnes, to its own facilities from 2018.

The move will bring to an end the US-based equipment manufacturer's six-year strategic alliance with Wacker Neuson.

Five of the current models (301.4C, 301.7D, 301.7D CR, 302.2D and 302.4D) manufactured by Wacker Neuson will be phased out by mid-2018. The 302.7D CR will be phased out at the end of 2019, and the 300.9D could phase out at the end of 2019 or later, if both parties agree.

Korey Coon, Caterpillar's general manager for mini hydraulic excavators, commented: “Wacker Neuson has been an excellent alliance partner, providing Caterpillar [with] high-quality mini-excavators in this smaller size class for the past several years.

“But the market for these products has grown, and we believe that internally designing, manufacturing, and distributing these excavators will provide an even higher value to our customers, dealers, and shareholders.”

Spare parts availability, technical support, and warranty for current models will continue as Caterpillar and Wacker Neuson work together going forward. Other products sold and serviced by Wacker Neuson at Caterpillar's authorised dealers and rental stores will not be affected.

Caterpillar’s recent cost-cutting efforts have included a number of consolidation measures at its production facilities, and a further possibility is that the decision to move the production of the mini excavators in-house is intended to help group take in some of the slack at its existing facilities.

Last week, Caterpillar also announced its intention to cease production of its track drills, and to sell of its 'room and pillar' division, which produces niche mining machines for underground applications.

The end of the track drill lines is set to eliminate 200 jobs across two facilities, but in all, thousands of jobs have been eliminated from Caterpillar’s global workforce amid the closure and consolidation of up to 20 facilities as part of efforts to save $1.5bn in the coming years.

In March, Caterpillar also announced its decision to discontinue production of its on-road dump trucks in response to slumping demand for commercial trucks and construction equipment.

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