In February, Toro announced its acquisition of Ditch Witch. During The Rental Show, Construction Equipment editors sat down with Pete Moeller, general manager of Toro Sitework Systems, to discuss the company’s plans.
Q: What products are represented by both brands, and how do the two lines complement each other?
A: There are a few areas of overlap. We both sell some loader products, underground drills, trenchers, but almost everything else on the floor here for Toro, they don’t sell. The Charles Machine Works portfolio has a variety of things that go with the underground drills that we don’t offer, [such as] tooling and locators. That’s why we’ve been interested in Charles Machine Works for a long time, because there’s a little overlap, but it’s mostly complementary and lets both businesses co-exist. We’ll learn to move from competitors to one company with competing brands, co-existing. We do that in several other areas today at the Toro company, so we’re very used to that dual-brand, dual-channel strategy.
Q: What will product development look like under the new company?
A: That I can honestly say, I don’t know yet. We’ve said very little on our go-forward strategy at this time, just because we haven’t closed the deal, many people are just learning of it. We haven’t been able to pull in all the people that we’d want to be involved in those conversations—for obvious reasons—they weren’t aware of the transaction. But we have said this: Ditch Witch has 100 years of brand equity, just like the Toro brand does. We wouldn’t want to not utilize and leverage that. So we have said that that brand is staying, and the channel is staying. So we will have dual brands, dual channels, and inherent in that, you have some resources that are duplicative. But that’s what we have with Toro, Exmark, and our lawn mowing business. We have two teams out, selling into the same market, and that’s what we’d like to see with this merge. One brand is not subservient to the other. This is not a fixer-upper acquisition. They’re in good shape, they’re healthy, they’re profitable—and more importantly, they’re very similar culturally to the Toro company.
Q: Will there be any dealer consolidation?
A: There are no plans for that. We will continue as a dual brand and dual channel. Again, the dealers have a long legacy.