Caterpillar to build new US factory

By Chris Sleight17 February 2012

Caterpillar has selected a site near Athens, Georgia, US for a new factory producing small tracked dozers and mini excavators. The 1 million ft2 (92940 m2) facility will cost US$ 200 million and will employ 1400 people when fully operational.

The products are part of Caterpillar's Building Construction Products (BCP) division and one of the reasons for chosing Athens was to be close to the divisional headquarters in Cary, North Carolina. However, Caterpillar said the decision also reflected the need to build these products closer to customers.

"The decision to shift production from Japan to the United States is driven by the proximity of a large base of customers in North America and Europe. Our objective is to better serve those customers from this new factory," said BCP vice president Mary Bell. "The Athens site was selected from among dozens of locations considered due to its proximity to the major ports of Savannah and Charleston, a strong regional base of potential suppliers, a positive and pro-active business climate and a good pool of potential employees with manufacturing experience," she added.

The new factory will be Caterpillar's global source for small dozers and will build completed mini excavators for North and South America, along with partly assembled mini excavators that will be exported to Europe for final assembly.

Caterpillar plans to break ground on the plant in the first quarter of this year, with initial production due to start in late 2013. It will ramp-up to full production over a five-year period.

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