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BT is a Sweden-based manufacturer of lift trucks, and the world's largest manufacturer of warehouse trucks. Bought out by Toyota Industries Corp. in 2000, BT, together with Toyota, accounts for 20 percent of the world's industrial truck market.[1] Products the company continues to manufacture under the BT brand name include hand pallet trucks, pallet trucks, stackers, reach trucks, order selectors, tow tractors, very narrow aisle trucks, semi-automatic trucks, and diesel and electric-powered forklifts.

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[edit] History

BT was founded in the town of Mjolby, Sweden in 1946. It started off as a wholesaler of equipment for the construction and transportation industries. Soon after, the company started developing some if its own products, including a hand pallet truck in 1947.[2] Another development in 1949 led to the company's success as a provider of material handling solutions. In partnership with the Swedish State Railway, the company devised a standardized pallet for the European material handling market that measured 31 x 47 inches (80 x 120 cm), eventually called the EUR pallet.[3] The introduction of the EUR pallet to Europe’s warehousing industry made BT a household name. Following this success, the company branched off into the manufacturing of forklifts. By 1950 it had 39 employees and was well on its way to expanding.

[edit] Reaching for New Markets

By 1960 BT had grown ten-fold with a workforce of 340 employees.[4] During that era, the company surpassed the production of its 100,000th hand pallet truck and introduced walkie trucks, stackers, and reach trucks to its product line.[5] The company’s products were well received domestically and abroad with export sales rising to 50 percent, enabling BT to continue its expansion, not only within Europe, but worldwide as well.[6] By 1970 the company had penetrated the North American market, establishing sales bases in Canada and the U.S. and eventually strengthening its North American presence with the acquisition of Lift-Rite in Canada and Prime Mover in the U.S. It also continued to grow its product line with the introduction of a driverless truck referred to in the industry as a semi-automatic truck. By the '80s, the company’s sales had quadrupled.

[edit] Acquisition of Raymond

In 1995 BT got listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange. The company made another strategic move towards solidifying its position in the North American market when, in 1997, it acquired Raymond Corp., the material handling product leader in the U.S. at the time. Other takeovers followed with the acquisition of Mechanical Handling Consultants in 1998 and Italian company CESAB's line of counterbalanced trucks.

[edit] Toyota Buys BT

In 2000 BT was acquired by Toyota Industries Corp. or Toyota Material Handling Group. The takeover of BT proved to be worthwhile, giving Toyota instant domination of the world’s lift truck market.

[edit] The Company Today

Today, BT remains the largest manufacturer of warehouse trucks while Toyota is the world’s largest manufacturer of counterbalanced industrial trucks. As of 2005 BT employed close to 9,000 people worldwide, generating a turnover of SEK 15 billion.[7] The company’s products that are still marketed under the BT brand are manufactured in four countries.

[edit] Equipment List

[edit] References

  1. BT 60 Years. BT Corporate Brochure. 23-02-2009.
  2. BT 60 Years. BT Corporate Brochure. 23-02-2009.
  3. RBT 60 Years. BT Corporate Brochure. 23-02-2009.
  4. RBT 60 Years. BT Corporate Brochure. 23-02-2009.
  5. RBT 60 Years. BT Corporate Brochure. 23-02-2009.
  6. BT 60 Years. BT Corporate Brochure. 23-02-2009.
  7. BT 60 Years. BT Corporate Brochure. 23-02-2009.

[edit] External Links