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obcat is celebrating 25 years of compact excavators. at’s 25 years of incredible success, new opportunities and strong, steady growth. In the rst half of the 1980s, Melroe Company was at a crossroads. Its skid-steer loaders, known as Bobcats since 1962, were already hugely popular, particularly in the US where they were invented. Melroe was also exporting them to Europe, where they were produced under license for local markets.

Skid-steer loaders were extremely successful in European agriculture, construction and industry. ey proved very e cient at tasks such as cleaning the holds of barges and ships and excelled in any job requiring the ability to work in con ned spaces. However, when it came to the wider market for constructionmachines in Europe, national tendencies and preferences came into play. e UK, Spain and France, for example, had a long-standing preference for backhoe loaders. Germany, on the other hand, had always beenmore interested in articulated loaders. us, as it broadened its horizons, new demands were being placed on Melroe Company’s business.

Compact excavators were introduced into the UK in the mid 1970s. By 1985, the total market in Western Europe for these versatile little machines had already grown to around 6,000 units per year. It was clear that Melroe Company would need to diversify if it was to remain competitive in Europe. is diversi cation was to change the course of the company’s history, transforming it into the world’s leading compact equipment manufacturer.

In the words of Gui Keuppens, Managing Director of Melroe Europe at the time, “ e European market needed a di erent solution and the compact excavator market was already showing dramatic growth. e importance of o ering an expanded product portfolio in Europe cannot be overstated. Had we continued to o er only skid-steer loaders, we would have lost our distributors and ended up being a bit part player.”

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