JCB'S 750,000th backhoe rolls off UK production line

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 06 Mar 2020

JCB backhoe loader staffers Nihal Dhillon, Phil Starbuck, John Plant, JCB Chairman Lord Bamford, Shannon Ramczykowski and Keith Bloor.

JCB celebrated a unique milestone as its 750,000th backhoe loader, the latest 3CX, rolled off the production line. This follows the manufacture of its 500,000th backhoe in December 2012, a 5CX, the most powerful commercially available backhoe JCB has ever made. The landmark machine was driven off the line at the company’s factory in Rocester, Staffordshire – the very location where the first JCB backhoe was manufactured almost 70 years ago.

The 750,000th model is a special edition of JCB’s latest 3CX backhoe loader, bearing a unique livery and comprehensive specification. The backhoe loader remains hugely popular in terms of global construction equipment sales – even though new and competitive products have evolved over the past 67 years. And JCB’s iconic backhoe is the biggest selling in the world – and has been for 19 consecutive years.

The JCB 3 went into production in 1961, followed by the JCB 3C in 1963 and the JCB 3CII in 1967 – a model which stood the test of time, staying in production for the next 13 years.

It was 1980 which proved to be a real turning point with the 24 million pound investment in the launch of the technologically advanced JCB 3CX – a machine which has become a backhoe icon around the world. It was the launch of this machine which was the real catalyst for growth of backhoe sales and for JCB.

The company’s first backhoe was the JCB Mark I and the concept quite literally went on to change the shape of the world, mechanising many jobs, which had previously been done by hand. The product developed rapidly, with the launch of the Hyddra-Digga in 1956. Both these early machines came in blue and red livery and it was only in 1960, with the launch of the heavier, more powerful JCB 4, that JCB’s signature yellow branding made its first appearance.

JCB chairman, Lord Bamford said, “Some of my earliest childhood memories are of watching our first backhoe loaders being produced at Rocester and it’s incredible to think we have now manufactured 750,000. What’s even more incredible is that the backhoe remains one of the world’s most popular pieces of construction equipment almost seven decades after the first was produced. It really is testament to the versatility of the machine that its popularity continues to endure and will see it continue to prosper in the future.”

Speaking at the occasion Subir Kumar Chowdhury, managing director and CEO of JCB India said “JCB introduced the iconic Backhoe Loader in India four decades ago. Today, it is visible at almost every worksite in metros, towns, and villages, working tirelessly towards building a new India. JCB Backhoe Loaders have made a significant impact in the country, with the machine becoming almost synonymous with infrastructure development”

It was in 1953 that company founder, the late Joseph Cyril Bamford CBE, conceived the idea of the JCB backhoe loader, a single machine which combined a front shovel and rear excavator arm. In its first full year of production in 1954, just 35 of the machines were produced and it took more than 20 years for the first 50,000 to be made.  JCB now manufactures backhoe loaders in the UK, India, Brazil and the USA.

The current generation of backhoe loaders feature automatic deployment of stabilisers on unlevel ground, a Smooth Ride System which cushions the loader and improves load retention when travelling and a TorqueLock feature which reduces on-road fuel consumption by up to 25%.

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