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JCB has designs on pounds 6bn

JCB, the privately owned excavator maker, yesterday unveiled an ambitious plan to break into the pounds 6bn world fork lift truck market with a design the company claimed would revolutionise lifting equipment, writes Chris Godsmark.

But Sir Anthony Bamford, chairman, admitted that the Teletruk, which uses telescopic arms to pick up pallets, had first emerged on the drawing board 20 years ago. "You could say it's been a long gestation period," he said.

The new vehicle, which will be launched in October, will make JCB the only British-owned maker of lift trucks, following the buyout of famous names like Lancer Boss. JCB said it had shown the design to many potential buyers and several companies had asked to place orders.

Sir Anthony said: "The existing designs haven't changed in 40 years. Our product has the advantage of great visibility and better productivity."

JCB has so far spent around pounds 5m developing the Teletruk, which will be made in its special products factory in Cheadle, Staffordshire. New jobs would be created, although JCB could not say how many.