March 2013

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Manufacturing can offer a real value proposition to contractors," he added. "We made that decision, and we are going to be aggressive in performance, support, and marketing. This will enable our dealers to penetrate the market and make a profit at the same time." Dealers would welcome a return to the aggressive marketing and tactics of the old Kobelco. Richard Scott, president of Scott Equipment, a Kobelco dealer located in Los Angeles, Calif., hopes to see stronger marketing and an aggressive approach on the pricing to start with. "They were always aggressive on pricing," said Scott. Looking for a Few Good Dealers Hargrave indicated dealer signings would start March 1, with the bulk of dealers signed in 120-150 days. Collins at Tracey Road predicted, "I would expect 100 percent of the old dealer network to stay on." New Holland dealers will no longer be restricted to certain machine sizes as they were under CNH. The company's goal is to have approximately 45 dealers signed in North America by year's end – but perhaps as many as 65. According to Hargrave, more than 60 prospective dealers have completed an online form on the company's website. Given the consolidation in the market, one of the biggest challenges for Kobelco may be finding the kinds of dealers they are looking for: companies that are financially sound with good sales and service staff, top quality facilities, and an aggressive mind set. "We want people who want to grow their market share," said Hargrave. "We are not interested in dealers that have gotten to a certain point and just want to hover there. We are looking for good solid, aggressive dealers to market the product," said Hargrave. At the same time, Kobelco won't automatically rule out single-location dealers. The first task for Kobelco is building their operation and getting the staff and dealer network in place. "A large portion of the people being hired are former Kobelco America employees," said Hargrave. Getting the old band back together isn't a bad strategy for an organization that wants to quickly move into full swing. And the fans are clearly excited for the comeback. Dealers interested in representing Kobelco should contact Ron Hargrave, 281-797-2574, ronald.hargrave@kobelco.com n Joanne Costin is a freelance writer and marketing consultant focusing on the construction industry. She can be reached at (847) 358-1413 or jcostin@costincustom.com. March 2013 | Construction Equipment Distribution | www.cedmag.com | 43 40_Kobelco_Feature_KP.indd 43 2/27/13 3:34 PM

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