By Mike Travers
A Scottish plant company that was stripped of its Manitou dealership after 46 years is getting back up to full speed after winning three new franchises.
Ian Rose, managing director of W M Rose & Sons, said he only learned in a terse email that the company had been sacked, despite enjoying strong market share and sales above Manitou’s UK dealer average across both construction and agricultural sectors. It was the longest-serving dealer in the UK.
The West Linton company held the franchise for Edinburgh, East and West Lothian, Midlothian and Peeblesshire and in a further twist, part of its territory has been awarded to a dealership run by Ian’s nephew Richard. The two have been estranged since a business fall-out in the 1990s.
“We were dumbfounded when the email arrived from Manitou,” said Ian, who runs the business with his brother, William. “It was such an unbelievable shock after all those years, during which we sold thousands of Manitou machines.”
The directors have moved quickly to replace the franchise, which was terminated on December 31. Within weeks it had struck distribution deals with Italian telehandler manufacturer Merlo, access equipment specialist Niftylift and HC Forklifts, which imports industrial forklift trucks from Chinese manufacturer Hangcha. Existing dealerships for Case IH Agriculture, Horsch and Polaris are unaffected.
“Our staff and customers have been absolutely brilliant,” said Ian. “We’ve been blown away by the messages of support and encouragement from customers.”
He continued: “We are very much taking the view that as one door closes another opens. Merlo has released a new range of machines and seeing them in operation has been impressive. Had we retained the Manitou dealership we would have had serious competition from them.
“Also, we are excited that the Merlo products will be complemented so well by the Niftylift and HC industrial range. We are being very well supported by the back-up, technical support and professionalism of our new suppliers and feel strong foundations have already been forged.”
W M Rose & Sons sold 82 Manitous in 2018.
♦ In a statement issued to Scottish Plant, Manitou said: “W M Rose & Sons has provided good service to their Manitou customers, over several years, and we thank them for that. However, Manitou has concluded that our future customer needs, in the Lothian and Peeblesshire regions, can best be fulfilled via a different dealer.”
Following the dealer shake-up, companies responsible for serving customers in the territory previously served by W M Rose are: A T Best Handlers (headed by Richard Rose), Ness Plant, and Lloyd Ltd.
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©Scottish Plant. Article posted 25/2/2019