A forklift is the single, most important piece of industrial equipment in today's logistics and warehousing. Forklifts enable us to streamline operations in and around the world of material handling, lifting, and moving in factories, warehouses, store-rooms, plants, yards, and construction sites.
The first forklift ever made was manufactured in 1920 by Clark Material Handling Company in Kentucky, US. It was called a Tructractor, and, funny enough, it didn’t actually have forks. It was basically a small truck with a counterbalanced rear that had an attachment in the front to carry stuff around. That attachment was what today might be considered as a pallet. Forklifts are usually diesel, gas, and petrol-powered, but recently, the rise of electric vehicles has pushed manufacturers into making electric forklift trucks as well.
The demand for quality material handling equipment, especially forklifts, spawned many brands, big and small. In this article, we’ll look at some of the most popular forklift truck manufacturers who have contributed to this industry. Without further ado, here’s a list of 76 forklift truck brands, in alphabetical order:
Incorporated in India by Vijay Agarwal in 1995, the company rolled out its first hydraulic mobile crane in the same year, and launched the first Indian forklift truck to ever hold the CE mark in 2007.
Prominently referred to as just “Heli”, Anhui Heli is a construction equipment company founded in China in 1958. It was dubbed one of the top 20 lift truck suppliers by Modern Materials Handling Magazine in 2019.
Balkancar is a Belgian equipment manufacturer that produced the first electrically-driven forklift truck in Bulgaria.
The Chinese equipment manufacturer was founded in 2003 in Jingjiang until it was finally acquired by KION Group in 2010.
Officially known as Barclay Brand Ferdon, the company offers fleet services and warehouse solutions by manufacturing quality material handling equipment out of Jersey, US.
B-P Battioni e Pagani S.p.A. is an Italian manufacturer of forklift trucks out of Parma, Italy since 1959. It mainly makes 4-way and side-loading forklifts that are diesel, gas, and electric-powered.
BT Forklifts was founded in Japan in 1946. It manufactured the first hydraulic hand pallet truck, followed by the first driverless truck in 1978. The company was eventually absorbed by Toyota in 2000.
Cargotec is the result of the demerger of Kone Corporation in 2005. It is based out of Helsinki, Finland, and it operates in ports management, road transportation, and sea freight.
Caterpillar makes world-renowned construction equipment, and their manufacturing expertise extends to material handling equipment and logistics. Their forklift truck manufacturing division is based out of Houston, Texas in the U.S.
Cesab Material Handling Company was founded in 1942 in Bologna, Italy. It started out as a producer of railway and trains services products before it began to manufacture electric lift trucks in 1951.
Champ manufactured some of the world’s most robust forklift trucks that are still floating around to this day. It was founded in Los Angeles, California in the early 1950’s before it was acquired by Gehl in 1990.
As we talked about in the beginning, Clark Material Handling invented the world’s first hydraulic forklift truck in 1920. It was founded in Kentucky, U.S. by Eugene B. Clark in 1917.
The company was known for manufacturing forklift, fire pump, racing, and specialty engines in Coventry, U.K. in 1903. Through a series of mergers and divestments, the company acquired Johnson & Smith Ltd in 1919, then was defunct in 1986 and absorbed by Jaguar Cars and British Leyland to be finally under the umbrella of Kalmar Climax.
Martin McVicar and Robert Moffett established Combilift Lifting Innovation in Monaghan in 1988. They are the largest manufacturer of multidirectional, sideloading, and articulated forklifts globally.
Crown Equipment Corporation is a family business founded in Ohio, U.S. in 1945 with an estimated revenue of USD 4.6 billion as of 2020. Crown lift trucks are built with 85% of the components built in-house.
Written “Çukurova” is Turkey’s first company in the production and supply of construction machinery and industrial equipment, dating back to 1943. Its current products include battery-powered, LPG and diesel counterbalance forklifts, as well as in-warehouse stackers.
Not to be confused with the luxury supercar brand, CVS Ferrari dates back to the early 1940’s Italy when it was known as The Ferrari Belotti S.p.A. The company manufactures material handling equipment and stackers and forklift trucks.
Dalian Forklift Co Ltd was established in Dalian, China in 1946 as a state-owned large second type enterprise. In 1958, Dalian manufactured China's first 5 ton internal combustion forklift. Dalian has since been dubbed as "cradle of the Chinese forklift.”
Formerly known as Daewoo Heavy Industries & Doosan Infracore, Doosan Group is the oldest running company in South Korea having been founded in Seoul in 1896. The company has been ranked as one of the world’s top 10 largest heavy equipment manufacturers in 2018.
EP Equipment was founded in 2007 in Hangzhou, China. It is a leading manufacturer specializing in lithium-powered warehouse equipment from product design, production, to after-sales services for material handling equipment and forklifts in particular. The company manufactures 90% of its materials and components in-house, and is considered the number 1 market leader in lithium-ion technology.
Fenwick Groupe was a French engineering company based in Paris. It was founded in 1862, and, after a series of business fluctuations, Fenwick worked with Yale to manufacture forklift trucks, and eventually was taken over by Linde (a Kion subsidiary) to become Fenwick-Linde.
Flexi is a UK manufacturer of logistics and material handling solutions founded in 1990. The company excelled in its field by innovating the world’s first articulating forklift truck, dubbed as the “very narrow aisle (VNA)” truck that helps optimize warehouse design and space investment.
In 1976, Lencrow was established in Australia, trading as All Forks Hire. Followed by the establishment of Munlift & Munquip in 1982, and just before 1999, Hystandard Handling Equipment was acting as the official Hyster dealer for Australia, when Fork Force was officially founded as a brand for the multifaceted corporation.
Fraza Group is celebrating 85 years since its establishment in 1938 in Detroit, Michigan, U.S. Today, Fraza is a full-service material handling business offering quality forklift trucks, stackers, and other storage management solutions.
Headquartered in West Bend, Wisconsin, U.S, Gehl Company was founded in 1859 as a compact equipment manufacturer. Other than forklift trucks, the company manufactures skid steer loaders, telehandlers, and compact excavators.
In 1963, Godrej manufactured the first forklift truck in India in collaboration with Clark Material Handling Company. Since its inception in 1909, the company went from manufacturing everyday industrial tools to making space shuttle thrusters- talk about achievements!
Zhejiang Goodsense is one of China’s largest exporters of material handling equipment, specifically forklift trucks.
In 1956, Hangzhou Mechanical Repair Factory was founded in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China, which was officially renamed Hangcha Group Co., Ltd. in 2010. Hangcha has become one of the largest material handling equipment manufacturers in the world.
Heavy Equipment Production Company (HEPCO) was established in 1972 in Arak, Iran. Throughout its years in business, the company manufactured dump trucks, road building equipment, and material handling equipment. The company shut down in 2021.
Originally established as Silent Hoist & Crane in Brooklyn, New York, U.S. in 1918. The company, in collaboration with Elwell Parker, manufactured forklift trucks, shipping container handling equipment, and lifting equipment.
Hubtex Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG was founded in 1981 with headquarters in Fulda, Germany. The company based its business in the manufacture of custom-built industrial trucks, sideloaders and special-purpose equipment for long, heavy and bulky goods.
Hyster is one of America’s most prolific forklift manufacturers. Based out of Portland, Oregon, U.S. The company was founded in 1929. Through a series of acquisitions and divestments, the manufacturer is now making lift trucks under the Hyster-Yale Materials Handling brand.
Under HD Hyundai Heavy Industries, the company is considered one of the world’s largest manufacturers of heavy construction equipment. The machinery manufacturing arm of the Korean conglomerate was founded in 1972 to become the largest shipbuilding company today.
JAC Forklift is a subsidiary of JAC Motor Group (Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Co., Ltd) and it was established in 2003 to become one of China’s largest manufacturers of material handling equipment and forklift trucks.
J.C. Bamford Excavators Limited (JCB) is a British manufacturer of construction equipment founded in 1945 in Rocester, Staffordshire, England. The company is known for its backhoe, but it also produces dump trucks, loaders, and forklifts.
Jungheinrich AG is a material handling equipment manufacturer based in Hamburg, Germany established in 1953. Their most popular product is the ETV214 reach truck, with a load capacity of 1.4 tons.
Kalmar is an innovator in the realm of material handling, having developed the first industrial straddle carrier in the 1940s, and the first RoRo tractor in the 1970s. It is a part of Cargotec Group.
Kaystar heavy industries factory was founded in 1999 in Laizhou City, Shandong Province, China. They specialize in manufacturing 4WD heavy forklift trucks.
Kion Group AG is an intralogistics, industrial trucks and warehouse solutions provider with a brand portfolio that encompasses 7 material handling manufacturers including Baoli, Fenwick, Linde, OM, Still, Voltas, and Dematic. It was established in 2006 in Frankfurt, Germany.
Komatsu Limited is the world’s second largest manufacturer of heavy construction equipment and mining machines next to Caterpillar. The company is known to have the largest wheel loader in the world by acquisition, and the biggest bulldozer (D575A) by manufacture.
Konecranes Oyj is a company based in Finland specializing in the manufacture and service of cranes and lifting equipment founded in 1994. Throughout its history, the company has merged and unmerged with a number of companies including KCI, Terex, and Cargotec.
Landoll Company Limited has been in business since 1963 as a welding company for industrial and commercial equipment. It has since expanded into the manufacture of material handling equipment and forklifts.
Lansing Bagnall was started in 1920 to manufacture reach trucks and material handling equipment, but in 1930, it ceased operations. After that, it was bought out and renamed to J E Shay Ltd, before it was finally incorporated by Linde AG in 1989.
Linde Material Handling of today manufactures forklifts with ergonomics at heart. It was first established in 1904 in Germany as a diesel motor manufacturer, and went on to establish partnerships and mergers with multiple companies until it became a part of KION Group in 2006.
Officially established in Liuzhou in 1958 as Guangxi LiuGong Machinery Co., Ltd. LiuGong is one of China’s prominent heavy construction equipment manufacturers. The company is specialized in the production of electric forklifts, storage vehicles, internal combustion forklifts, tractors, and AGV automatic navigation vehicles.
Loadstar Equipment Pvt. Ltd. was founded in 2017 in Bangalore, India. Specialized in cargo lifting solutions, the company has built its largest 45-ton reach stacker to handle containers, steel coils, and large diameter pipes.
Formerly established as China Infrastructure Machinery Holdings Limited (CIMH) in 1993, Lonking Holdings Limited is one of the largest machinery manufacturers in Fujian, China.
Manitou is a French company based in Ancenis specializing in the manufacturing of material handling and lifting equipment, founded in 1958. Since 2017, the company has expanded its operations to include the manufacture of backhoes and skid steer loaders.
Established in 1920 in Italy, V. Mariotti S.r.l. is specialized in the manufacture of the world’s smallest electric forklift trucks. Their range includes three-wheel stand-up and ride-on forklifts, boasting high maneuverability and compactness.
Merlinum Forklift was established in Sweden in 2013, with a mission to develop forklift trucks and material handling equipment with a focus on ergonomics, driver comfort, and overall performance. Their product lineup includes forklifts from 6 to 10 tons lifting capacity.
Originally, the automotive industry giant has been in business since 1884, and from 1992, it launched Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks to deliver robust material handling solutions across the cargo and shipping industry.
Moffett was a special agricultural equipment manufacturer founded in 1945. It became a part of HIAB in 2000, to become the corporate’s brand of truck mounted forklifts. HIAB is also a part of Cargotec.
Nacco forklifts are manufactured under Sumitomo Heavy Industries and Hyster-Yale Materials Handling Corporation.
Nichiyu was established in 1937 in Thailand before it was incorporated with the global Mitsubishi Logisnext group from Kyoto, Japan.
Nissan is one of the largest economy vehicle manufacturers in the world. The company manufactured its first forklift truck in 1957, before it streamlined its operations in 1961 by forming Shinnikkoku Kogyo Co.,Ltd. (now called Nissan Shatai Co.,Ltd.).
Noveltek was founded in 1990 in Taiwan as a manufacturer of powered and manually operated material handling equipment. It has recently expanded its Australasia shipping network to supply Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Holland, Austria, Germany, United Kingdom, Greece, Australia, USA, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt, Tunisia, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong among other Asian countries.
Officine Meccaniche, OM Pimespo, or OM was originally founded in 1899 in Milan, Italy, until it became defunct in 1975 and incorporated with Iveco as part of FIAT group. It remains an industrial forklift truck manufacturer today under the name Officine Meccaniche EME.
Pettibone was founded in 1881 in Michigan, U.S. and has since contributed to the material handling and lifting equipment industry on a large scale by inventing the Carrylift, which is the first forward-reaching rough-terrain telehandler.
Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies Limited was founded well before 1884 as an engineering enterprise specializing in agricultural machinery, engines, harvesters, as well as electric motors and airplanes. In the 1950’s, the company started manufacturing forklift trucks that were exclusively sold by the Hyster brand. In 1998, it became defunct and was taken over by Textron Inc.
Founded in 1922, The Raymond Corporation recently won the international forklift of the year award for their 8910 enclosed end rider pallet truck. Their product range includes automated pallet trucks, tow tractors, and stackers.
Rocla Oy began offering automation solutions to their customers in 1983, and in 2020, Rocla AVG became a brand of Mitsubishi Logisnext Group.
Sany Heavy Industry Co., Ltd. is the third largest heavy equipment manufacturer in the world known for its concrete machinery, cranes, and excavators. Founded in 1986 in Hunan, China, it acquired the German concrete machinery manufacturer Putzmeister in 2012. Their range of forklift trucks ranges from 10 to 46 metric tons.
STILL was established in Hamburg, Germany in 1920 as an electric motor repair shop. It had soon expanded into manufacturing generators and power solutions, before it became a prominent material handling equipment manufacturer in the mid 1940’s- manufacturing its first two-man electric trolley.
The nineteenth century old Japanese heavy equipment titan has been affiliated with manufacturing forklift trucks and material handling equipment since the mid 1950’s, through a series of acquisitions and mergers with names like Sumitomo-NACCO, Yale, Hyster, and Suminac.
Founded in 1977 in Ljungby, Sweden, the company is specialized in the manufacture of forklifts, container handlers, and logstackers.
Established in Mississippi, U.S. in 1927, Taylor Machine Works, Inc. started out as a small family business in the automotive and repair industry. In the postwar fifties, the company started manufacturing material handling and warehouse equipment, such as the “yardster” forklift truck. These trucks helped shift around bulky materials such as lumber and prestressed concrete.
TCM was originally established in 1949 as Toyo Umpanki Co., Ltd., before it was rebranded into TCM Corporation in 1999. The company is primarily a manufacturer of lift trucks and stackers, and is now part of Logisnext Corporation.
The Towmotor Corporation was founded in Ohio, U.S. in 1919. The company manufactures storage solutions that are either manual or powered- from 1 to 6 ton lifting and towing capacity. In the early thirties, Towmotor innovated the towmotor, which was the first diesel-powered forklift in history. At the time, people referred to forklifts as towmotors. Towmotor is now an MLE brand under Logisnext Corporation.
The automotive industry titan Toyota Motor Corporation was spun off in 1937 from the parent company Toyota Industries in 1926. Apart from manufacturing over 10 million vehicles per annum, the company also makes agricultural and material handling equipment. It was dubbed the world’s largest forklift truck manufacturer in terms of revenue.
In 1957, Nissan Forklifts rolled out its forklift assembly line at its Totsuka Plant in Japan, and later in 2012, it joined UniCarriers Group and renamed its forklift brand to UniCarriers. After 2017, UniCarriers becomes under the umbrella of Mitsubishi Logisnext Corporation.
Vallée has been in the market of materials handling equipment manufacturing since 1956, based in Québec, Canada. Their product line includes forklift truck attachments, forks, masts, and parts.
Founded in Illinois, U.S. in 2014, Viper Lift Trucks LLC specializes in manufacturing internal combustion cushion, pneumatic LPG/Gas and Diesel engine forklifts and lift trucks for the US market. In 2018, the company introduced their rough-terrain material handling equipment lineup including the RTD30, 35, and 80, at 6,000 and 8,000 lbs lifting capacity.
Volvo Construction Equipment, sometimes referred to as just Volvo CE, is one of the oldest machinery manufacturers based in Sweden. The company’s first tractor was built in 1913, just short of a century since the company was founded. Volvo is renowned for its A40G articulated hauler, its EC550 excavator, as well as a myriad of other construction equipment spanning pavers, loaders, backhoes, and graders.
Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group Co., Ltd. or simply XCMG is China’s 4th largest heavy machinery manufacturer, founded in 1943 in Xuzhou, China. The company boasts 38 different material handling equipment models including, gas, LPG, electric, and diesel forklifts.
Yale has been around since 1875 and the company has since introduced several forklift truck models including reach trucks, order pickers, very narrow aisle (VNA) trucks, pallet trucks, pallet stackers, 3-wheel electric forklift trucks, 4-wheel electric forklift trucks, tow tractors, internal combustion pneumatic tire, compact internal combustion trucks, and high capacity forklift trucks. In 1986, NACCO incorporated both Hyster and Yale to become today’s Hyster-Yale Group for material handling and lift truck solutions.
Zoomlion Heavy Industry Science and Technology Co., Ltd. is China’s largest construction machinery manufacturer. It was originally founded in 1992 as Changsha Hi-tech Development Area Zoomlion Construction Mechanical Industry Company, and over the years, the company produced a myriad of heavy machinery including excavators, mobile cranes, and most notably, concrete pumps.
A forklift is an essential tool for any storage and distribution center, big or small. While many small businesses opt to rent a forklift, others choose to purchase one outright as it proves to be a sustainable investment. Now with forklift certification being quite easy to get, more and more people are fine-tuning their skills as the demand for certified forklift operators is increasing.
If you’re in the market for a new or used forklift truck, do check out our daily-updated catalog. We also offer forklift rentals in the UAE and provide forklift-certified operators as well.
Do you think we’ve missed any other forklift truck brands or manufacturers? Do let us know in the comments.