Deere-Hitachi celebrates 30 years of joint venture
By Andrew Snook
May 22, 2018 – John Deere and Hitachi have been collaborating together for a long time. The two companies celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Deere-Hitachi Construction Machinery Corporation at its Kernersville, N.C. factory last week.
John Deere and Hitachi have actually been collaborating since the 1960s – and signed an OEM supply agreement for excavators in 1983 – but it was in 1988 that the two companies officially established the Deere-Hitachi joint venture and the Kernersville factory. The facility is 145 acres in size (1,338,168 sq. ft.) and employs more than 800 people. The models manufactured there include the 13- to 47-metric ton excavator models for Deere and Hitachi. The first model ever built there was the 200LC excavator.
Jonathan Chase, president of Deere-Hitachi Construction Machinery Corporation, discussed the long-running joint venture during a tour of the Kernersville, N.C. facility on May 17.
“The 30-year Deere-Hitachi partnership is unlike any other joint venture in the industry, and is a testament to the longstanding mutual respect and dedication of our teams,” Chase said. “Combining the strength of Hitachi’s world-leading hydraulic excavator technology with the resources and might of the 180-year-old John Deere brand, the alliance produces excavators for the world’s best customers.”
Chase discussed how John Deere and Hitachi coming together have brought out the best of both companies for their North, Central and South American operations (the two companies operate as entirely separate entities in the rest of the world). John Deere brings its strong customer support, parts distribution network, and more localized engineering teams to fill the needs of the companies’ customers in the Americas, while Hitachi brings its global excavator leadership and a global footprint to the joint venture.
Today, 10 models of the two brands are manufactured at the Kernersville factory. John Deere and Hitachi dealers across the Americas have the option of selling John Deere branded excavators, Hitachi branded excavators, or both.
“We’re partnered to give choice to the customers,” Chase told the press.
New product offerings
During the Deere-Hitachi 30th anniversary festivities, members of the trade press were offered a chance to get up close and personal with several of the companies recently released excavators, including the new 345G LC, the 350 LC, Zaxis 300 LC. There was also an opportunity to pilot one of Kespry’s latest drone models. Kespry and John Deere announced a strategic alliance during CONEXPO-CON/AGG in March 2017.
Deere-Hitachi also discussed its grade guidance feature for excavators and updates to G-Series models. The grade guidance system will be available on the 13- to 47-ton 210G LC, 350G LC and 470G LC models in the next year. They will have 2D reference or 3D design surface options. The system was developed in cooperation with Topcon, and is integrated with JD link so telematics data can be pulled from the machines. The system is fully supported by the Deere-Hitachi dealer network.
“Customers want to manage grade from inside the cab, quickly and accurately on precision excavation projects,” said Jonathan Spendlove, excavator product marketing manager, John Deere Construction & Forestry. “Integrated grade guidance on the 210G LC comes ready for the customer to put it to work, is fully supported by their John Deere dealer, and will enable them to rapidly achieve final grade using only the display in the operator’s station.”
Andrew Kahler, product marketing manager for John Deere WorkSight presented to the press on how WorkSight can help customers with their operational pain points, like downtime, shortages of skilled operators, tight margins and schedules, managing cash flow, machine utilization and asset tracking.
“It’s very much about efficiency, making sure they hit their deadlines,” Kahler told the crowd, adding that their dealer network plays a key role in helping customers find solutions that work for them. “We’re really focused on productivity solutions for our machines. We’re enabling our dealers to be the one-stop shop for our customers.”
The Kernersville location is one of three joint venture companies with respective manufacturing facilities established. The other two include the Deere-Hitachi Specialty Products (DHSP) facility in Langley, B.C. established in 1998; and Deere-Hitachi Máquinas de Construção do Brasil S.A. (DHB) in Indaiatuba, São Paulo, Brazil established in 2011.
For more information on Deere-Hitachi Construction Machinery Corporation, visit www.dhkernersville.com.