General Manager – Sales,
Doosan Bobcat India.
Our machine has been designed to meet the two key expectations of customers – fuel economy and durability.
Bobcat is an unbeatable No.1 player in compact equipment market. We are confident that we will replicate our success in backhoe loader in India as well with the help of a well-designed product backed by good commercial strategy, says S Manjunath, General Manager – Sales, Doosan Bobcat India. Excerpts from the interview…
Bobcat has been a leader in skid steers for years. We understand that Bobcat is also going to launch backhoe in the Indian market. Could you throw some light on this?
As rightly said Bobcat is an undisputable leader in not just skid steer loader but compact construction equipment globally. In India too, we have more than 60 per cent market share in skid steer loaders. We have always been looking toexpand our product portfolio to be the part of India’s ambitious growth. The compact equipment segment has multiple products and backhoe loader holds the biggest market size. We want to be able to bundle our products to meet customers expectation. Few years back we added compact excavators in our portfolio and quickly became leaders in this segment as well. Now we plan to launch our backhoe loader specifically designed for Indian requirements by our R&D team based in Chennai facility from where the machines will be manufactured.
What are the major objectives while launching backhoe in an already cluttered market? Also tell us about your expectations?
We want to expand our product offering in the compact construction equipment market in India. With India moving towards becoming a developed economy, development of rural area, increase in urbanization and labor cost will go high. All these are bound to drive demand for compact equipment. As the requirement grows, backhoe loader becomes the key product with an annual industry size of 40,000 units. Globally Bobcat is an unbeatable No.1 player in compact equipment market and our vision is to become No. 1 in India as well. This is possible only when Bobcat enters the backhoe loader market.
There was a similar belief in Middle East that the market was already cluttered and there was no space for a new entrant in backhoe loader. But Bobcat has been able to break into the top tier very quickly within two years of launch. Although India is a different market, we believe that as long as the product is reliable and productive, the customers are willing to support. We are confident that we will replicate our success in backhoe loader in India as well with the help of a well-designed product backed by good commercial strategy. We would like to be a key player in backhoe loader market.
Could you elaborate the technical feature of the backhoe proposed to be launched?
Though we are not be able to give you the finer details we are happy to share the broad level specs of our backhoe loader.
It will have an operating weight of 7600-7700 kg, powered by a 76 HP engine. The backhoe bucket size would be in the range of 0.24 ~ 0.26 cum and loader bucket would be1.0 – 1.1 cum. Almost 90% of the market is made up of this spec, we have also decided to go with this key specs for our product. When we studied the market to collect voice of customers, two key expectations were fuel economy and durability. Our machine has been designed to make sure these two attributes have been addressed.
From the design perspective what makes the new model of backhoe more fuel efficient, enhance productivity, and longer lifecycle?
Bobcat backhoe loader structures, systems and aggregates have been designed in such a way that that it is fuel efficient, highly productive
What are the special cabin and steering facilities incorporated for this backhoe loaders?
Operator cabin and steering offered by Bobcat is at par with competition offerings. It provides comfort to operator in term of visibility, access, safety, spaciousness, premium seat and controllability during long hours of working.
How are you able to ensure a lower total cost of ownership to the price sensitive Indian customer?
Total cost of ownership is very critical when it comes to factors why customers choose a specific backhoe loader. It is addressed through multiple approaches like intervals of regular maintenance, rightly priced parts, fuel efficiency, quality components which would result in durability and longer life of the machine. Even there are components outside of machine, like ensuring finance at the right interest rates which are to be addressed. So, we are working on all these aspects to ensure that we meet the customer’s expectation when it comes to TCO for the customers.
How do you assess the future of the backhoe market, specifically once the new emission norms are put in place?
New emission norms will have significant impact on backhoe loader market in terms of sales and size of industry. Reason behind this will be addition of cost due to emission norms. Backhoe loader and excavator market will be in rebalance and readjustment mode for next few years till emissions norms will be applied to excavator industry. But we are very optimistic about backhoe loader market due to its versatile use and near universal acceptance by Indian customers.
Telematics and machine control technologies has redefined the backhoe market dynamics. What are the latest telematics solutions offered by Bobcat?
Telematics is a very useful tool for owner or operator from perspective of use, locations, maintenance, safety and security, OEM support and efficient use of equipment. Bobcat has been offering telematics solutions to the customers in advanced and developed markets. The extent of features in telematics varies from one country to another based on the customer needs and the supporting telecom infrastructure prevalent there.
Currently we are studying the customer needs, available technological support network and competition offerings in Indian market. Based on this learning we plan to design and offer the solution beneficial from the view point of Indian market in the future.