Featured machine: Hyundai H930s
Hyundai Heavy Industries launched its H930s backhoe loader
At Big 5 last month, Hyundai Heavy Industries launched its H930s backhoe loader, one of two backhoe models the company has launched in the GCC. According to the manufacturer, the machine is a quality product and is well-priced. But does it have what it takes to compete in a crowded segment?
While the Big 5 may no longer have the pulling power of old for equipment sellers, Al Wasit Machinery’s display of Hyundai machinery at the apex of the PMV Live outdoor display area still managed to impress.
And along with the excavators, wheel loader and mini-excavator, on show was an H930s backhoe loader, announcing the Korean manufacturer’s entrance into the backhoe loader segment.
And what a crowded segment it is. JCB is the undisputed market leaders, both globally and locally, and it’s said that every second backhoe sold in the world is a JCB, which perhaps isn’t surprising given that they invented the things.
Locally, Caterpillar, Case and Volvo are other brands who are strong in the segment. Liugong also recently introduced two machines in the segment.
And while Hyundai has managed to command a good share of the excavator market, with a 28% share of the GCC crawler excavator market in 2011, in the backhoe segment it’s late to the party.
The reason being, says S. B. Yun, the Middle East regional manager for Hyundai Heavy Industries, is that there is little demand in their native Korea, due to mountainous and stony terrain, where mini-excavators are favoured.
The H930s, along with the larger H940s, will be targeting primarily the international markets outside of Korea.
As with the excavators, Hyundai will be banking on their brand’s positioning as strong on price and quality, a niche that the Koreans manufacturers have carved out for themselves in certain product areas.
To publicise the new products, Yun says that the company and its dealers will hold a series of product demonstrations for customers across the GCC, in countries including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
The machine has been through extensive testing, in Korea and in foreign markets including Brazil and South Africa, and Hyundai is expecting the machine will be a strong performer, Yun told PMV. Built with Perkins engines, the H930s has 68.6kW, while the H940s has power of 74.6kW, both at 2200 rpm.
Features include full Power shift transmission as standard specification, and pilot controls which provide the operator with precision and control. The four wheel drive system is designed for on-the-go activation and improves loader performance in rough terrain conditions.
The design of the cabin gives the operator good visibility to the foot of the outrigger, and the cab has six-pillars with ROPS / FOPS certification.Cushioned cylinders protect the structural elements of the backhoe, while the load sensing hydraulic system distributes optimum power to the related hydraulic components based on Furthermore, the automatic return-to-dig function reduces loading cycle times and can contribute to high productivity at the site.
Commenting, Ninan George, marketing manager, Al Wasit Machinery, said that the new models will be fully backed by Al Wasit’s excellent sales and product support services.
“Moreover, Hyundai’s recently opened Parts Distribution Centre at Jebel Ali, UAE will enable quicker parts distribution to our customers in the region,” said George.
“With the introduction of these versatile products, we expect to increasingly meet our customer’s requirement of quality products at reasonable price”, he added.
Looking to the wider market, the question may be posed whether the backhoe segment isn’t already well-served by other brands in the market. But as the major machinery companies struggle for market share, profit, and global domination, it is clear that companies cannot afford to miss out on being competitive in any of the major segments in the market place.
As one executive recently said of the backhoe segment, with regards to unseating their rivals, putting pressure on JCB in this segment is necessary to keep their rivals check, as no company should ‘own’ a segment.
And for full liner manufacturers like Caterpillar, Case, Volvo and Komatsu, as well as increasingly the Chinese manufacturers, offering additional products can be a way to leverage sales off their core volume sellers.
After all, if you’re selling a good volume of excavators, wheel loaders and bulldozers in a single sale, then that’s a good time to sell a backhoe or two.
Additionally, with backhoes often the first machine of choice for smaller contractors, before they buy larger earth-moving machinery such as wheel loaders and excavators, sales of backhoes can see relationships developed with new customers.
For Hyundai, the backhoe product remains unknown in the region, but the prevalence of its excavators and other machines means that the brand has a solid presence, with a reputation built on reliability and price.
If those characteristics have been successfully transferred to its backhoe offering, and the product performs well for customers, it could soon eke out a decent share of the backhoe market in the GCC.