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Fri July 03 2020

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Hitachi pulls back from European production

29 May Hitachi Construction Machinery Europe NV (HCME) plans to stop production and assembly of machines and returning to relying on imported finished machines.

Hitachi's Amsterdam factory is switching to custom jobs
Hitachi's Amsterdam factory is switching to custom jobs

The mini-excavator factory in Oosterhout in the Netherlands will cease operations and the Amsterdam factory, which assembles mid-sized machines based on imported subassemblies from Japan, will be repurposed for customising machines to meet specific customer requests.

“To take advantage of economies of scale, the production and assembly of standard machines will be left mainly to the factories in Japan,” the company announced.

“The poor results in recent years, the changing market demand and the current economic conditions made it necessary for HCME to come to this decision,” it said.

The necessary consultation process with the employee works council and discussions with trade unions have now started and the company aims to complete the transition in December 2021.  Up to 115 out of the 600 jobs at HCME are expected to go.

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Hitachi marketing will now focus on its readiness and ability to tailor machines for customers. “HCME will offer the dealers more customised solutions for the Hitachi machinery. This is something all dealers throughout Europe request from HCME, saving them unnecessary activities, such as removing and replacing the cabin to install for instance a heating device,” it said. “The organisation sees a growing demand for these tailor-made machines. However, from then on, the standard machines for distribution in Europe will mainly be produced in Japan.”

Hitachi Construction Machinery entered Europe in 1986 in joint venture with Fiat of Italy after the European Commission imposed anti-dumping tariffs on imported machines.

When Fiat bought Case IH in 1999, Hitachi was left to go its own way and the Fiat-Hitachi joint venture was dissolved in 2002.

Building on the existing operations of Hitachi Construction Machinery (Europe) NV, which had been its lead distributor in Europe since 1972, a new plant was opened in Amsterdam in 2003 for the assembly and sales of Hitachi-branded machinery under Hitachi management.

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