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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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