International Construction Products established a year ago to take on the Big Three construction and mining equipment manufacturers by selling Chinese machines at a deep discount to US customers, are taking their fight to the courts. ICP has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Caterpillar, Komatsu and Volvo, accusing them of collusion and unfair competition by excluding ICP from the US market by “effectively dismantling its primary distribution channel: online sales,” reports Aggregates Manager
Specifically, the suit alleges the three manufacturers threatened to boycott online equipment marketplace IronPlanet, a key partnership in ICP’s plan to sell new equipment directly to customers at prices up to 40 percent below those of Cat, Komatsu and Volvo. The suit also alleges that the recent merger of Cat Auction Services with IronPlanet was designed to make the exclusion of ICP from IronPlanet permanent.
ICP launched last year, with an announcement at the ConExpo/Con-Agg trade show in Las Vegas. The company is led by Tim Frank, the former president of Chinese equipment manufacturer Sany’s U.S. operation, and Wes Lee who was with Volvo CE prior to joining ICP. ICP works with Chinese equipment manufacturers as a marketing and sales partner, and took on the challenge of easing the minds of U.S. contractors and their long-held skepticism of Chinese-made equipment.
In an interview with Equipment World, Lee called IronPlanet, “the engine that drives our online sales, with pricing, warranty, financing, etc., on to the shopping cart and check out.” The company seeks to make buying construction equipment as easy as “buying a sweater.”
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