Kubota brings compact track loader production to Kansas

By Larry StewartOctober 18, 2022

Kubota SVL65 compact track loader Production of Kubota’s SVL65 CTL is ramping up at in Salina, Kan., and Kubota says more models will be added. Photo: Kubota

A $178-million renovation of a 750,000-square-foot facility by Kubota subsidiary Great Plains Manufacturing is bringing much more than assembly of Kubota compact track loaders (CTL) from Japan to Kansas. It also signals growth of Kubota’s CTL line.

A Kubota corporate statement on the facility points out that the U.S. has the largest compact construction machinery market in the world, and that “the majority of Kubota’s compact construction machinery in the United States have been exported from Japan.”

Kubota plans additional investment at the new facility. “At the start-up, one model of compact track loader will be produced,” according to the statement. “Going forward, Kubota will establish the supply system that can respond in timely manner through adding new models of compact track loader and improving supply capability.”

The grand opening of the Salina manufacturing center featured a sake barrel ceremony, a Japanese tradition similar to ribbon-cutting that symbolizes opening to harmony and good fortune. Photo: Great Plains Mfg.

The phased expansion transforms the existing facility, a plant that Philips Lighting vacated recently, into Kubota’s North American Skid Steer Loader (SSL) and Compact Tracked Loader Construction Equipment design and manufacturing center. The completed first phase results in manufacture of Kubota’s SVL65 compact track loaders ramping up and expected to grow through 2023. Kubota expects additional models of construction equipment will be brought into the Salina factory. The project already created 150 new jobs as of the ribbon cutting last week. Employment at the factory is expected to surpass 900.

Phase 2 of the CE facility, expected to be complete in 2024, will be a $124 million investment that will include automotive-grade eco-paint system with a line for powder coating and another for liquid applications. Welding, assembly and fabrication areas will be expanded, and a building addition will boost production capacity and add about 200 jobs at the facility.

Kansasd Governor Laura Kelly and Linda Salem, president and CEO of Great Plains Manufacturing at the sake barrel ceremony. Photo: Great Plains Mfg.

Salina-based Great Plains is a 45-year-old Kansas company that was acquired by Kubota in July 2016. It established Salina among Kubota’s four strategic growth areas in the U.S., along with Edgerton in eastern Kansas, and locations in Georgia and Texas.

Salina-based Great Plains Manufacturing is a Kubota subsidiary and employs over 2,000 people worldwide. Its five divisions are:

  • Great Plains Ag, which manufactures soil management and seed placement equipment, and other farm implements
  • Land Pride, which manufactures grounds maintenance tools such as mowers, rototillers, rotary cutters, dirt-working equipment, and construction equipment attachments
  • Great Plains International, which sells the company’s products worldwide
  • Great Plains Trucking, which operates a nationwide fleet of flatbed trucks
  • Great Plains CE Division, which manufactures powered equipment for the construction industry
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