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No. 361, October 1999

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American Companies in Japan


In exchange for a payment of $750,000, LMC CORP. licensed its low-ground-pressure vehicle product and process technology for snow-grooming machines to NIIGATA ENGINEERING CO., LTD., a new business for the Tokyo company. The contract also covers sales of this equipment under the LMC name. Niigata Engineering initially will make and market two of the Brigham City, Utah firm's models. One, the 260C, can groom 81,000 square yards of ski slopes an hour. It will list for $355,600. The 300CF model, which can reform close to 98,000 square yards of snow in 60 minutes, will cost $384,300. About 150 snow-grooming machines are sold annually in Japan. Niigata Engineering hopes that 10 or more of these vehicles will be its.

With the hike in public works spending creating one of the best markets in years for earth- moving equipment, SHIN CATERPILLAR MITSUBISHI LTD. has unveiled one product after the other to capitalize on this opportunity. Its latest releases are a pair of redesigned midsize CATERPILLAR INC. wheel loaders that are engineered to handle heavy loads without straining the engine. The $342,600 CAT 966G has a bucket capacity of 5 cubic yards, while the CAT 972G, which goes for $379,600, can handle 5.6 cubic yards of material at a time. In the first year of marketing, Shin Caterpillar Mitsubishi estimates, it will sell 120 of the smaller wheel loader and 20 of the larger model.

By next spring, TOSHIBA CARRIER CORP. — which was formed in April through the combination of TOSHIBA CORP.'s air-conditioning equipment division and CARRIER CORP.'s local operation (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 356, May 1999, p. 20) — hopes to have ready for commercialization air conditioners for sale in overseas markets. Such a diversification would help to offset potential sales downturns in Japan. Moreover, sales to countries in the Southern Hemisphere would help to even out the now seasonal nature of the business. The products, which basically must be tailored to climatic conditions and housing in each market, will be marketed through Carrier's global distribution channels. .....In the meantime, TOSHIBA CARRIER CORP. is projecting combined annual sales of 100,000 units for three air purifiers that just went on sale. The energy-saving models use HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters. Scaled to room size, the products range in price from $315 to $490.

An exchange rate of ¥108=$1.00 was used in this report.

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