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Chinese Imported Forklifts VS Refurbished Used Forklifts

Filed under: Used Forklifts

So you’re a small business owner who doesn’t want to spend too much or you’re purchasing a unit that’s not going to be doing a lot of hours.

You’ve got two options: purchase a brand new Chinese import or buy a refurbished used forklift.

Which should you buy?

Let’s say your budget is approximately $16,000; and you’re after a 2.5ton forklift with a three stage mast. A used forklift or an import would retail for around a similar price with the same spec. So you’re thinking “Why would I buy a used forklift over a brand new one for the same price?” Well there are a number of other factors that you might not have considered such as reliability, depreciation, backup & support.


How many Chinese forklifts working in the field do you come across that are over 5 years of age? Not many!

Many importers of Chinese forklifts don’t use these Chinese imports in their own fleet because they know they are unreliable and parts are difficult to obtain. Therefore they prefer to hire out a five or six year old machine (purchased from us) rather than one of their Chinese imports.

The below Hyster S40D (1959) is 52 years old and still going strong. Now that’s a good investment. Check out the Case Study

S40D (1959)


The true hidden cost that most people don’t consider when buying a new import is the depreciation. When you buy a second hand Hyster you know you will get a good resale value from the unit.

So when you’re comparing two units both valued at $16,000 remember to factor in the real difference in value when you trade the unit in. The real difference can be as much as $5,000. A good second hand machine that has been refurbished and has low hours and has been maintained and serviced by a reputable company keeps its value and is an asset. An Import can have next to no resale value. It’s difficult to sell and nobody wants them.

Backup and Spare parts

There have been many different forklift companies importing Chinese brands of forklifts to Australia over the years, most of which have gone out of business or have stopped selling Chinese forklifts. These companies are normally around for 2 to 3 years or until their warranty issues become too much and the Chinese manufacturing company moves on to another importer.

A forklift isn’t just a one off investment; it’s an ongoing commitment that requires a strong working relationship.  If you’re looking for a reliable forklift dealer read our Why buy from us Section.

Guest Blog by Winston Axiak – Adaptalift Hyster’s Victorian Used Equipment Manager (Winston has over 23 years experence in the materials handling industry).


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Financial planning
November 30, 2011 - 5:01 pm

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December 01, 2011 - 3:53 pm

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Brian Moseley
December 06, 2011 - 4:33 pm

Thanks for the info, we were looking at buying a new chinese brand but werent sure about them. The spare parts could be a big problam for us especially if the fork goes down in December and we cant get it going for some time, we would loose to much money. I looked at the second hand yards and their rental forks all seem to be Hyster so I will now try and find a Hyster.
Thanks for your info.   

January 04, 2012 - 5:04 pm

No problem Kendo, we are glad you found this useful.

Let us know if you need any help while looking for your Hyster.

AAL Admin
January 19, 2012 - 11:44 am

    hi dear

Please I am interesting in buying used forklifts,I want to buy 2 forklift,capacity 12000 lbs or more,combustion could be any,year more than 1995, also I want to buy 4 forklifts more capacity 5000 or 6000 lbs

Please could you quote me

March 21, 2013 - 9:18 am

    Get with the times! I can remember all of this was said about the Japanese forklifts and have a look know!!!! The reputable Chinese brand forklifts have come along in leaps and bounds! I know this personally and as far as parts are concerned the parts supplier in Melbourne and Brisbane are now stocking full ranges of parts I might also ad that if you have a good look when researching the Chinese forklift you will find that they are now fitting Japanese oem Engine, Move over boys they are coming

December 23, 2015 - 7:03 am

please ,
forklift cylinder head working hours versus numerous repairs.
thanking you

Hossein Malekzadeh
September 13, 2016 - 6:47 am

  I’ve been working with my Ahern Rep on getting a used forklift. This was good info to have. about the Chinese compared to the american one.  The hours to look for, the usage we would use it for. They offered me a Hyster 2008 2600 hrs.  for $13.000 +
sounds like a pretty good deal. Thxs again for your input.                 

April 05, 2017 - 10:28 am

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