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Japanese firm sets up sales subsidiary Kobelco in drive for UK success

JAPANESE earthmoving and crane manufacturer Kobelco has signalled its determination to

expand in the UK by setting up a subsidiary to sell its tracked excavators.

The new firm , KCME, based in Farnborough, Hampshire, will provide sales, service and parts support, but will not hold any machine stock.

Instead, it will source equipment from Kobelco's factory in The Netherlands or direct from Japan.

Kobelco is keen to underline its commitment to the UK market following the folding of its previous distributor, MC Construction Machinery, earlier this year.

KCME sales co-ordinator Elaine Wilson said: 'We want to convince people we're here to stay.

'We're not going to go again in three years.'

The firm is now looking to add its own dealers to what will be a 'relatively small network', said Ms Wilson. KCME will concentrate on tracked excavators rather than other products, because they generate higher demand. It will sell a range from 1.5-tonne minis up to 46-tonne earthmovers.

Service support is also being prioritised, backed up by a 38,000-piece parts department in Holland.

'If we can't provide a part the next day, we can pretty much guarantee a part on the machine by the end of the week,' said Ms Wilson.

KCME will not focus solely on new business; service facilities will be available for customers who have bought from Kobelco dealers previously.

'We have a big commitment to machines sold in the past,' said Ms Wilson.

KCME is keeping tight-lipped about its new product plans, but it is booked to appear next May at the SED exhibition in Milton Keynes.