A Japanese heavy equipment company says it plans to be making 1,800 excavators a year at a new plant in Moore next year.
Tokyo-based Kobelco Construction Machinery Co. said it would employ 131 people at the $41 million, 156,722-square-foot factory on 85 acres along State 290 near the intersection of interstates 85 and 26.
The company said it plans to break ground in April, do most of the hiring in July and begin making excavators at the start of 2016.
Kobelco said in a news release that it would make 1,800 excavators a year at the plant and “sequentially increase the (product line) and production in accordance with market development.”
The company said it aims to recapture the 10 percent market share it enjoyed in North America before allying with Italian firm CNH Industrial in 2002.
The alliance with CNH, which owns the Case and New Holland brands of heavy equipment, was dissolved in 2012, according to a news release from Kobe Steel, Kobelco’s parent company.
Kobelco also said its plant in Hiroshima, Japan, had reached the limit of its production capacity and that the South Carolina plant would allow it to cut production lead time for North American customers.
Jordan Lumpkins, marketing manager at Kobelco’s new headquarters for the Americas in Katy, Texas, near Houston, said the company wants to boost its North American market share from 4 percent to 7 percent this year.
Kobelco is currently shipping the excavators it sells in North America from Japan, he said.
Once the South Carolina plant opens, “We don’t have to do the slow boat from Japan,” Lumpkins said.
He said the Moore plant would make different sizes of hydraulic excavators, starting with the 20-ton model.
The product will be sold through more than 150 retail outlets in the United States and Canada, Lumpkins said.
Kobelco said in the news release that it had found a “strong manufacturing industry” in the Upstate “with automobile manufacturers and aviation industry manufacturers and there are many overseas companies as well.”