Lined up ready for delivery outside the Shanghai factory, Lonking's excavators are now being sold across the world
For Lonking, wheeled loaders form a major part of the firm’s business, although the company now has a well-diversified range.
Product development has been important for the company and the third generation wheeled loaders are now coming to market. These new models feature new engines, while the firm is also introducing its second generation excavators and third generation forklift trucks.
The third generation wheeled loaders will be available with emissions compliant engines for sale into the US and Europe and the company is launching this series at bauma China. Other additional products that will broaden the range will also be unveiled at bauma China although Lonking is reluctant to say more until the exhibition. As Lonking has its headquarters in Shanghai, the company is also planning to have an open day event that includes a full machine demonstration programme that will draw customers from the show.
The Shanghai factory is the firm’s headquarters and includes extensive manufacturing capability for equipment including road machines, skid steer loaders, excavators, forklifts and components such as axles and transmissions. The massive Shanghai facility is also Lonking’s main factory producing wheeled loaders, although the company does have a number of other production facilities and employs around 8,000. Tao Lu is general manager of overseas marketing and said, “We have four bases,” explaining that the other three factory facilities are at Henan, Jiangxi and Fujian.
Privately owned, Lonking manufactured a record number of wheeled loaders in 2011 and Tao said, “In 2011 we sold more than 44,000 wheeled loaders.”
Around 20,000 of the wheeled loaders produced in 2011 were built at the massive building F on the Shanghai site, equivalent to around 50/day. The company started production of wheeled loaders at the Shanghai site in 1999 but the facility now produces other machines including excavators, compaction machines and forklifts. The excavator market is a growing part of the firm’s business and production reached 5,000 units in 2011. Tao said, “For forklifts we are in the top three producers in China. We grew very fast as we started production of forklifts in 2006 and last year we produced 19,000.”
Lonking has a novel approach to its products too as it continues to manufacture early generation products and these are distinguished by the different colour scheme. The first generation units are sold purely into the Chinese market as low cost machines, with the second generation and third models intended as higher premium ranges. The new third generation wheeled loaders have been developed for export but will only be available in the Chinese market at first until the designs have been proven. The chassis for the new wheeled loaders remains basically the same as for the previous models, but extensive improvements have been made to the driveline, cab and kinematics for example. Similarly, third generation excavators are being developed for the export market and will be aimed at sale into the US and Europe.
Tao said that Lonking presently has a low profile outside of China compared with some of its competitors but added that this will change, “Right now we want to increase our influence in the export market, particularly Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.”
The country has some export sales success already though, with Nigeria and Saudi Arabia for example having proven strong markets for the product range so far. Mars Cal, vice director of the marketing department said that the company has a target figure of 20% for exports of its compactors. He added, “We are aggressively increasing our exports. Russia and Brazil, Argentina and Indonesia are importers.”
Other countries are also good markets for the company and Jason Lee, planning and marketing department director said, “South America and Asia are good and we are working pretty well in the Middle East.”
He explained that the company is keen to increase its presence in Africa and said, “We are looking for dealers but it is difficult to find them.”