LGMG - The ARA Show

Room to Grow

Chinese manufacturer LGMG brings scissor lift line to North America with goal of targeting independent rental companies.

When Chinese heavy equipment manufacturer LGMG looked at the North American aerial lift market, the company saw opportunity.

Small to mid-size independent rental companies had needs that the current market wasn’t meeting, and there was room for additional players in the space to provide solutions, according to LGMG, which stands for Lingong Group Jinan Heavy Machinery, a subsidiary of Lingong Machinery Group.

With the assistance of a pair of industry veterans that know this market and more than four decades of manufacturing experience, LGMG made its official North American debut at the 2019 ARA Show in Anaheim, Calif., launching an initial line of scissor lifts.

Founded in 1972, Lingong Machinery Group is one of the largest construction equipment manufacturers in China, says Sean Gao, director of finance for LGMG North America, which is based in Chambersburg, Pa. About four years ago, the company started making MEWPs, and last year, the company sold about 8,000 units in China, Gao says. They also have a base in Europe.

But the U.S. is the key, growing market the company is targeting, says Gao, who graduated from Ohio State University and is relocating from Toronto to Pennsylvania. He also has a personal connection to LGMG, with his father serving as a Lingong Machinery Group director.

The company enlisted Craig Paylor, the former president of JLG Industries who saw the OEM grow from a $30-million business to a $3.1 billion during his more than 30 years there, and Rusty Kaylor, who has over 40 years of rental company experience, to help them get their start here. Both Paylor and Kaylor, who have known each other for about 30 years, say that independent rental companies are in need of quality, cost-competitive MEWP options for their fleets, and that is what LGMG brings to the table.

“There’s a niche out there for small independent rental guys who need some numbers that will get them in the ballgame again,” says Kaylor, who was the CEO of Alliance Rental north of Atlanta prior to its sale to Ahern in 2013 and came out of retirement to help launch LGMG in the U.S. “The guys that are getting the great prices are the big companies, and I can understand why the big manufacturers give the big rental companies a really good price. We’re not trying to match that price. We’re just trying to get the small independent guys who want to buy half a dozen or a dozen—we want them to be able to get a number that they can live with in this marketplace.”

A Competitive Option

Paylor says LGMG’s scissor lift line, which is compliant with the new ANSI and CSA standards, offers a variety of options, from the self-propelled, low-level SS series, which starts with a platform height of 12’30”, to the electric or hydraulic AS series, which range in platform height from 19 ft. to 45 ft.

“Each model has a different price point,” Paylor says. “All the price points are very competitive and allow people to grow their businesses by buying a quality product with good service and support.”

Some of the lifts’ differentiating characteristics when it comes to quality is their smooth deck extension, universal drive controller, larger scissor arms for increased stability, easy-to-access serviceability, water-resistant powder-coated finish, and mostly American components with Trojan batteries, says Dan Bishop, the operations manager for LGMG

This is where drawing from their experience both on the manufacturing and rental side helps them understand what features are important to the independent rental customer in LGMG’s sights, such as an advanced battery charger that can bring the machine back from a dead state to full charge without external help, Kaylor says.

“There’s a lot of small things that add up to big differences, especially if you’ve been in the industry and you’ve dealt with it on a day-to-day basis,” he says.

LGMG maintains consistency over the line through a lean manufacturing process at their two plants in China, which employ about 4,000 people according to Gao, with the ability to make about 100 units a day.

The company has set up two U.S. parts and distribution centers, with one at its Pennsylvania headquarters, and the other in Ducktown, Tenn., with several hundred units in stock to initially focus on sales and service in the East. They have hired a team of about 10, and Gao says they’re aiming to bring on about 20 more employees by year’s end. Paylor says the goal will then be to expand and cover the rest of North America, setting up additional distribution centers in the Midwest and Texas next.

But Paylor says the plan is to grow strategically—LGMG has no interest in selling product they can’t service, he says, noting those are two factors why there was opportunity in the market in the first place.

“The way I like to look at it is we don’t want to over-promise and under-deliver,” he says. “If we can’t deliver or service the machines in a timely manner, we’re not going to promise that we can.”

In fact, Paylor says at the show, LGMG had to turn away some customers they wouldn’t be able to service adequately at this point. The company already has the interest to sell more models—including a rough terrain scissor lift line it plans to introduce in the coming months—when it is ready.

“Everybody that I’ve spoken to … they appreciated the quality of the product and the price point offered for the product; and we’ve had a lot of attention,” he says.

The management team of LGMG North America includes industry veterans Craig Paylor, left, and Rusty Kaylor, who are joined by Sean Gao, director of finance, and Dan Bishop, director of operations

A Solid Reputation

In addition to LGMG’s goal of offering a solution to a segment of the market, Gao says the company is also here in North America to learn as the brand builds on its reputation of lifting material to lifting people—and it is eager to hear feedback from customers.

“It’s also important to note that we’re not trying to be anything right now,” Kaylor says. “We’re just trying to get our products out in the field—let our customers see that it’s a good quality product—and enhance their opinions of a Chinese-made product that’s being managed by a North American veteran management team.”

As other Chinese aerial lift manufacturers look to enter the North American market in the near future, LGMG can count its veteran team as another distinct benefit to have in its corner.

Kaylor says he was enjoying his view from his porch during his retirement, when the product basically compelled him to encourage his friend Paylor to go for another round.

“We’ve been very careful about not tarnishing the last 40 years,” Kaylor says. “With the product that’s here, we feel that it will just enhance the last 40 years … when it’s time to go back to the porch.”

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LGMG North America Inc

Focusing on North America

Chinese manufacturer LGMG has entered the North American market with a plan to capture small and midsized rental business. Lindsey Anderson speaks with the company’s director, Rusty Kaylor, about opportunities and ambitions.

In late 2017, Chinese construction manufacturer LGMG told ALH it was planning a major global expansion of its access products, starting with its sights set on Europe followed by a move into the North American marketplace.

Fast-forward two years and the company’s vision has materialized. In January 2019, LGMG opened its first North American facility in Chambersburg, PA with a goal to attract small and midsized independent rental companies. The company currently offers a range of rough terrain scissor and boom lifts and has already sold several hundred scissors to the marketplace with a goal of several thousand for the coming year, according to Rusty Kaylor, LGMG North America’s VP sales – Southeast.

“The North American market is in need of a quality aerial lift product that not only has a price point that makes the small to midsized rental companies competitive to the top 10 rental companies, but also has the back up and support they have to have to be competitive,” Kaylor says. “We can provide both and intend to fill this market gap that other manufactures are ignoring.”

LGMG is based in Chambersburg, PA and chose Pennsylvania as its home base because the State “has long been known as the birthplace of the aerial lift industry,” Kaylor notes. It is also the lifelong home of LGMG North America’s CEO, Craig Paylor, who was instrumental in making the access industry what it is today.

Wealth of experience

Paylor spent more than 30 years at JLG Industries, Inc., where he played a key role in developing the company from a $40 million privately held business to a publicly traded global corporation with sales approaching $3 billion prior to the Oshkosh acquisition in 2006. He retired in 2010 after serving as JLG’s president since 2007. Kaylor is also a veteran of the access and rental industries, having first entered the industry in 1977. He was instrumental in the development of one of the first electric drive scissor lifts, the ReachLift, and operated a number of rental outfits from 1983 to 2015.

The two bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the new North American venture and plan to use their wisdom and know-how to educate the market on LGMG products.

“We offer a top-quality product with an expanding product line designed and engineered for the North American market at a competitive price that is being managed by an experienced team that has been involved with every facet of the industry for decades,” Kaylor notes. “The big difference here is the quality of the product along with the expertise of the management team; we understand this market better than our competitors because we have been in the rental business and the manufacturing industry in a big way for a long time.”


LGMG originated in 1972 and is located in Jinan, Shandong Province, China. It consists of three core companies – Shandong Lingong Construction Machinery Co., Ltd (SDLG), Lingog Group Jinan Heavy Machinery Co., Ltd (LGMG) and Lingog Special Machinery Co., Ltd. – and is affiliated with 16 companies. Its business segments include construction machinery, mining machinery, mobile elevated work platforms, special machinery and component manufacturing.

The company has two joint ventures, one with Sandvik, as part of its LGMRT mining and rock technologies segment, and the other with Volvo, representing the entire SDLG subsidiary. Under the two arrangements, Sandvik owns 65 percent, while Volvo has 70 percent ownership of the respective ventures.

The company started producing loaders 45 years ago with the medium range 3-ton and 5-ton segment making up 80 percent of the business. In the large sector the company already has a 40-ton truck and now has drilling rigs thanks to its partnership with Sandvik. Then, in the small segment, there are the 3.5-ton to 15-ton excavators and now MEWPs.

Products by the numbers

The plan is to offer the customer a full set of products. In 2016, LGMG said 27,000 MEWPs were produced in China across the eight biggest manufacturers manufacturing in the country.

By the end of 2017, that number reached 40,000 with LGMG having produced 4 percent of that volume, according to the company. LGMG’s target is to reach a minimum of 10 percent of the total output figure.

Making a move into North America increases the company’s footprint and customer base, but as many know, entering the industry here can be somewhat of a challenge; parts, service and distribution are key to running a smooth and successful business.

Presently, LGMG North America has parts and service locations that are fully operational and stocked in Atlanta, Houston, Chambersburg, PA and Ducktown, TN.

“It is our plan to strategically locate parts, service and machine sales location throughout North America,” Kaylor says. “Our engineering center located in Chambersburg, PA will be fully operational in the near future. We are currently evaluating products for us to manufacture here in the USA.”

Kaylor says there is definitely room here for LGMG products.

“Our products have a high quality due to our attention to the heavy wear parts of the machines; arms, cylinders, pothole protection, door hinges and wiring harnesses as well as the major components are all sized and tested for a long machine lifetime of quality use,” he notes. “We have learned from customers what not to do, because it has been done before and did not work.”


Partnerships growing for LGMG

In May, LGMG announced a renewed partnership with Germany-based PB Lift. The Chinese manufacturer produces PB’s Eco line of scissor lifts, and now its PB’s turn to offer its services and experience in helping to grow LGMG sales in Europe.

As Ares Song, international sales manager at LGMG said, PB’s role is essentially as a high-level consultant as LGMG seeks to approach the European market in the correct manner. “We do not want to damage the market by putting low priced machines into it. It’s important that all suppliers in the chain benefit from the market.”

Part of LGMG’s strategy is to make products specifically for the European market and PB will provide ideas to help it do this.
“We want to be up and running but in the proper European way.”

LGMG is ambitious and, as reported by sister publication Access International last year, the company set up a European division in 2018, including a depot and service center in the Netherlands. It is also bringing long-standing access professionals on board in the continent,
including most recently Ronan Mac Lennan as sales manager for Great Britain, Ireland, Scandinavia and European key accounts and Erik de Bruijn, as technical and product support manager. Both were at Bauma and have recently moved over from GMG. Between them, they have decades of experience in the access industry.

They join Hans Aarse, senior adviser, previously with IPAF, who came out of retirement to work with the company, and Maurice Jassies, sales manager Benelux, both taking up their positions earlier this year at LGMG Europe, which was launched in September 2018.

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