Handler manufacturer marks 30 years

Italian handler manufacturer Merlo invited all its UK dealers to join in celebrations at a London hotel, marking 30 years since the company’s wholly owned UK subsidiary, Merlo UK Ltd was set up. David Williams was there.

Out of 8,400 machines manufactured by Merlo in 2022, 7,000 of them were telehandlers, and a significant increase to 7,800 telehandlers is expected this year. Although the home Italian market share remains considerable, 85% of production is exported and the UK is one of the biggest markets taking 10–12% of total production.

Of the machines produced, 50% are destined for agriculture while the remainder are for industrial use and construction.

Ambitious event

The event, at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, was attended by 42 of the UK’s 45 Merlo dealers. Merlo handlers were available in the UK for approximately 15 years before Merlo UK Ltd started trading, imported by Selwood.

Merlo president Paolo Merlo and business manager Massimo Biei opened the evening with an address to all the dealers. Paolo stressed that the customer remains Merlo’s focus, and internal manufacturing of 90% of components means that quality is paramount.

Photo of attendees

Merlo chose a central London hotel for an ambitious event marking 30 years since it founded its Merlo UK Ltd wholly owned subsidiary. There were 42 of the company’s 45 UK dealers in attendance.

Massimo said that part of the secret of making machines that are so easy to use and comfortable is that they are designed in-house using the experienced team’s know-how.

“The agricultural market remains very stable,” he explained. “Often the farm owner is also the buyer of the machine and the main user too, and features such as our effective suspension systems which significantly increase operator comfort have been a real game changer. We want those buying a Merlo to purchase another of the same brand in 10 years’ time.”

Investment in UK

During the past three years, the parent company has invested heavily in the Merlo UK base at Ringwood, Hampshire as well as the sales and product support teams based there. “Our UK general manager, Shaun Groom and his team are all committed to our products and serving our customers. As a private company we are free to invest for the long-term and this will help guarantee success of the brand in the future,” continued Paolo.

Shaun Groom added. “It’s been great to be able to acknowledge in style all those present and that have gone before us during the past 30 years for their success in bringing Merlo UK to where it is today. Whether that be as a customer, dealer, colleague or industry partner, we are truly grateful for the support, and we look forward to the next 30 years. Last year we sold more than 700 units in the UK, which was a great result.”

Merlo president Paulo Merlo, Merlo UK general manager, Shaun Groom and Merlo business manager Massimo Biei.

Pictured (l-r) Merlo president Paulo Merlo, Merlo UK general manager, Shaun Groom and Merlo business manager Massimo Biei with three Merlo handlers displayed in front of the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel for the event.

Dealer awards

Awards were presented to several dealers, two of which had been with Merlo UK since the company’s inception. These were Devon-based CR Willcocks and Wales dealer Brodyr Evans Bros. Brodyr Evans dealer principal, Elgan Evans, said that it had been a privilege to represent the brand for the past 30 years, and he is looking forward to the next 30. Essex-based RC Boreham & Co collected an award for 25 years as a Merlo main dealer.

Looking to future product developments, Massimo and Paolo told Farmers Guide that many farmers across Europe still consider telehandlers to be new products, and that the research and development team works closely with all types of customers and visits them, to ensure the line-up includes the features they need.

Regarding alternative fuels, Merlo already offers its compact e-Worker battery-powered model which was test-driven by this magazine last year. Massimo said that development of medium-sized handlers using battery power is continuing, but that work on future diesel-powered models is also in progress.

Latest features assist future innovation

He added that telematics on existing handlers assist future product development, as engineers can analyse operating data to determine exactly how products are used. “We can identify areas where improvement is needed and make products more efficient.”

Massimo said features such as Merlo’s attachment recognition system, which automatically installs the correct operating profile for each implement, are contributing to extra efficiency. “It allows the operator to work closer to the machine’s limits while ensuring safety,” he explained.

Shaun Groom is pictured with RC Boreham dealer principal Nigel Boreham and director Matt Boreham.

Shaun Groom is pictured with RC Boreham dealer principal Nigel Boreham and director Matt Boreham. The dealer was presented with a long service award marking 25 years representing the Merlo brand.

“It was a fantastic event and everything we had hoped that it would be,” concluded Shaun. “Challenges included getting our three display handlers into central London, but it was very worthwhile and a great way to mark 30 years.”

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