From buying to renting: Cat dealers are opening rental outlets across Asia

20 March 2008

With the exception of Japan, the concept of equipment rental is a fairly new and unfamiliar way of working for contractors throughout Asia. However, Caterpillar is one of the players at the forefront of bringing rental to the continent through is dealers and the Cat Rental Store franchise, which has proved successful in many other parts of the world.

Last year saw the launch of the franchise in China, and according to Mr Beeler, progress has been good. “We knew it was going to take time to embed the concept, because rental is something of a foreign concept in China. We're using it in a variety of ways – we're educating people in the value of rental, and we're seeing some nice revenues now. Our dealers opened about 30 stores last year, and there will be another 30 to 35 this year.”

Another important point for Caterpillar is that rental stores can be used as a way of introducing new machine types, such as skid steer loaders, to markets like China. “One of the advantages of rental is that it allows a customer to try out a new type of machine with a minimum financial risk, and see if it works for them. Again, I think the entrepreneurial customers we have in China will grasp both aspects – the use of new machines and the rental concept in general,” said Mr Beeler.

Elsewhere in the region, Cat's dealers are gradually introducing the concept. “Rental in India is similar to China – there's a lot of education that needs to be done. There is genuine interest, and our dealers are doing things like seminars to help the process. We have about 20 rental stores in Indonesia. We don't have any rental stores in Vietnam, but it's just a matter of time. We have them in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines,” said Mr Beeler.

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