This year Bobcat celebrates the 60th Anniversary of both the company and the Bobcat skid-steer loader. Sixty years ago, Melroe Manufacturing Company, the forerunner to Bobcat Company, introduced a compact front-end loader that evolved quickly into the M-400, the world’s first true skid-steer loader. The M-400 later adopted what became the world famous ‘Bobcat’ brand and its success created the global compact equipment industry we know today.
Over the last sixty years, Bobcat has gone through many changes, but one thing has not changed: Bobcat’s commitment to outstanding quality, workmanship and innovation that has helped to maintain its market leadership, so that one in every two skid-steer loaders sold is still a Bobcat machine. Bobcat products have changed the way the world works and today the Bobcat brand and influence is as strong as ever.
In 2018, the range of compact loaders including skid-steer, compact track and all-wheel steer models that Bobcat has developed over the last six decades, continues to dominate the market, combined with a host of attachments to meet every specific customer’s needs. Bobcat has also diversified its portfolio with a full line-up of compact excavators and telehandlers that match the same tough internal requirements on reliability and productivity that Bobcat applies to the company’s loaders.
Bobcat in EMEA
In Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), the company’s passion and customer commitment has been invigorated by the development of a fully integrated structure based in the region, capable of defining, designing and manufacturing machines, products and services to meet the specific needs of local markets in EMEA.
In 2007, this culminated in the opening of the first new Bobcat manufacturing plant outside the US at the heart of the EMEA region at Dobříš, south of Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. Together with the existing telehandler plant at Pontchâteau in the Loire-Atlantique region in North-West France, the Dobříš facilities form part of a prominent manufacturing footprint in EMEA for Bobcat, which the company has used to produce over 80% of the products it markets and sells in the region.
Shortly after the Dobříš plant opened, Doosan Infracore purchased the Bobcat machinery business from US industrial conglomerate, Ingersoll Rand. Under Doosan, Bobcat has continued to invest in and increase its operations in the EMEA market.
In 2008, the first Bobcat office in the Middle East opened in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and in 2015, Bobcat opened a new Dubai-based Parts Distribution Centre to support the company’s products in the Middle East and Africa. The same year the company also opened the Innovation Center at Dobříš. This is a European Engineering Centre of Excellence, serving as an expert R&D centre for all Bobcat engineering teams across EMEA, with specific responsibility for small loaders and compact excavators from 1-3 tonne.
The Doosan Bobcat Campus at Dobříš is now unique among the company’s many facilities around the world, combining the manufacturing plant, the Innovation Center, a training centre and a distribution centre at the same location, and is the development point of new products and technology, their production and the delivery of training for dealers and customers in EMEA.
In 2016, further expanding its operations in EMEA, Bobcat launched a new range of backhoe loaders for sale in markets in the Middle East and Africa. In 2017, the company also launched a backhoe loader range for markets in Russia and CIS.
Increased Focus on Compact Excavators and Telehandlers
Built around the success of the Bobcat skid-steer loader, the diversification of the Bobcat product range has happened progressively. In the last twenty years, in particular, the company’s operations in EMEA have played a key role in the transformation of Bobcat from a producer of skid-steer loaders only into the world’s leading compact equipment manufacturer.
The contribution from Europe has continued to gather pace. The opening of the Innovation Center in 2015 and expansion of R&D at the Pontchâteau plant have provided new cutting edge engineering and technology for the compact excavator and telehandler lines, respectively.
Last year, Bobcat marked 30 years of success in the compact excavator market and the latest product developments using technology derived from the Innovation Center – the ground-breaking new 2-4 tonne compact excavators – will be shown for the first time at the Intermat Show in April 2018.
The Bobcat telehandler plant at Pontchâteau celebrates its 55th anniversary in 2018, as the company increases its focus on the telehandler lines with new ranges for both construction and agriculture. To demonstrate its confidence in product quality and performance, Bobcat is now offering a three year warranty on all of its telehandler models.
For more information about Bobcat and Bobcat products, visit www.bobcat.com