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The JCB digger that helped build Britain shrinks to grow sales

A shrunk-down version of the digger that made JCB famous around the world has been launched at the company’s headquarters.

The backhoe loader was invented by JCB founder Joseph Cyril Bamford in 1953 and more than 600,000 have since been produced. But modern construction sites are becoming increasing compact and congested and customers are demanding a much smaller machine.

Now, following a multi-million pound investment, JCB has answered the rallying call with a hi-tech 3CX backhoe loader that is 35% smaller than the standard model – but one that retains all the power and speed of its bigger brother.

The first of the new machines have started rolling off the production lines at the World HQ in Rocester, Staffordshire, as customers from around the world fly in to see it for themselves at one of the glitziest JCB machine launches for decades.

JCB Chairman Lord Bamford said: “It was the backhoe that built JCB into the company that it is today and made us famous around the world. As a company though you can never stand still; you need to innovate to grow.

“More and more of our customers have been telling us that they need a backhoe loader that is smaller simply because they are operating in congested towns and cities and on narrow streets.

“We have answered their call by engineering the 3CX Compact backhoe from the ground up. As the company approaches its 70th anniversary next month, I’m confident that this innovative machine will win us more and more customers around the world.”

The 3CX Compact is just 1.9 metres wide and 2.4 metres high and has a turning circle of just 5.8 metres, enabling it to turn in a single carriageway. It’s capable of travelling at 40kph and comes with air conditioning and power steering.

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