Forklifts have been in commercial use for at least 100 years, and they still perform the same basic task of lifting, moving and lowering loads from one spot to another. That being said, the features and capabilities of these industrial trucks continue to evolve, particularly in terms of safety (for the operators as well as pedestrians), ergonomics and alternative fuel sources.
According to the Industrial Truck Association (ITA), the trade group representing lift truck manufacturers, 2015 was the best year in the past 20 years for factory shipments of industrial trucks for Classes I and II vehicles (electric riders) and Class III (motorized hand). It was also the best year since the pre-recession era of 2006 for Classes IV and V vehicles (internal combustion engine). Even so, a survey of lift truck manufacturers conducted by the ITA reveals a trend toward reduction in lift truck fleet size, primarily due to the increased availability of fleet data usage as well as the trucks themselves being more productive and durable. Almost half (47%) the lift truck manufacturers polled believe this trend will continue, while 53% do not.
With the eyes of the world (or at least some of them) on forklifts this month in recognition of National Forklift Safety Day, we again are presenting our ranking of the 10 largest global manufacturers of forklifts as ranked by revenue. These suppliers play an outsized role in providing some of the leading material handling technologies and vehicles used worldwide by companies to manage their warehouses and distribution centers. All financial figures are stated in U.S. dollars, based on the relevant exchange rate as of December 31, 2016. The information was provided by the companies, unless otherwise noted.