CT Compact Truck, the Swiss/German company that makes compact all-terrain cranes, has sold a manufacturing and marketing licence to Terex Lifting. From March next year Terex plans to build 200 of the CT-designed cranes a year in Europe and market them in its own colours in competition both with CT Compact Truck itself and Terex PPM’s AT machines.

The deal was announced at the Intermat show in Paris last month, enabling Terex Lifting president Fil Filipov to steal headlines without even exhibiting at the show.

Compact Truck offers a models between 40t and 80t on two, three or four axles. The machines are notable for the number of boom sections (up to nine) and for their use of fast-running hydrostatic drive. The two-axle CT.2 (40t), the three-axle CT.3-A (70t) and the four-axle CT.3-D (80t) were exhibited at Intermat where, after the Terex announcement, they drew a lot of attention from the engineering teams of other manufacturers.

CT also has advanced plans for a 110t model, the CT.4, available in four different carrier configurations. Four, five or six axles can be specified, with two different axle spacings offered on the five-axle versions. It also plans larger machines in the years ahead. However it is not yet clear whether these machines come under the Terex agreement. Filipov said that the deal included the CT.4. But CT Compact Truck managing director Alexander Lutz said : “The CT.4 is not part of the license agreement with Terex, not yet. This question will only be decided in one year, when Terex can start production of the licensed products. We will decide about this later this year.” The cranes were first unveiled as a concept by company founder Franz Lutz (father of Alexander) eight years ago but the business has struggled to take off, weighed down by development costs which meant a price premium had to be charged on a product which was inevitably yet to be fully established and was unable to challenge the majors for service support. A total of 130 units have been produced since 1995.

An injection of Terex cash will now help Compact Truck make a stronger challenge on the world market and accelerate its product development without the financial difficulties of the past. The deal is structured such that Terex pays a large sum up front and a subsequent cut on each model produced. Filipov described it as “front-ended”, meaning that for Terex the major payment is at the beginning rather than over the lifetime of the agreement.

The challenge for Terex is to reduce costs – something that Filipov specialises in. Terex is free to source components where it wishes and so its greater purchasing power may help bring down costs. Franz Lutz dismissed any suggestion that Terex cost-cutting could damage the reputation of the Compact Truck brand. “I don’t think there will be a difference,” he said, when asked if a Terex CT would be inferior to one built by Compact Truck itself. Nor did he think there would be a significant difference in price offered by the two companies, he said.

The deal was brokered by Hendrik (HR) Kuiken, Benelux dealer for Terex and Compact Truck. Kuiken said that PPM’s market share in the Benelux region had collapsed since the introduction of 12t per axle road restrictions.

“For us it was also necessary that CT found a partner with expertise in production,” Kuiken added.

Filipov said that Terex would build the cranes in Europe, at least at first, because there was not much market in the USA for 40t to 80t all-terrain cranes – but where in Europe has yet to be decided. However, he added: “I hope that Compact Truck will go all the way up to 225t because that is where the money is and we are not present there.” Once the larger ATs are available, it is possible that Terex will open up production in North America also. He has been wanting to build ATs in the USA for several years but has not had the product.

Initially the marketing deal extends to North America and Western Europe. Extensions to other areas have yet to be negotiated. Alexander Lutz said that he was still looking for more licensees in strategically important regions such as Southeast Asia.