We offer a very comprehensive range of excavators in India from 14 to 85 tonne. These are extremely environment friendly, Tier III machines, with possibly the best fuel average and high production, says Vikram Sharma, Managing Director & CEO, Kobelco Construction Equipment India. Excerpts from the interview.How do you assess the growth prospects of the construction equipment industry? The construction equipment industry and specially excavators have been witnessing a growth of 20 per cent plus for the last five years. The current situation is seeing a slowdown in the growth rate, yet an increase is still happening. There is so much of work on hold all around that the future has to be bright, when things start up. We are seeing the effects of multiple factors such as European chaos, some recent decisions of retrospective acts, high inflation, high deficit, etc, which are holding back the industry. Despite these actions or lack of them, I am sure of a bright future for this industry.The input cost is heading north, putting enormous pressures on the OEMs. Added to this is the recent Budget putting more pressure on the manufacturing sector. What is your take on this?The manufacturers are under severe cost pressures, especially the high- end machines manufacturers like Kobelco, since we have imports of major aggregates. The weakening of the Rupee viz Yen/$ has been to the extent of over ten per cent in the last year. This is one of the major constituents of the cost hike.In the recent Budget, the increase of excise duty has also had its spiralling effect on end costs to the customer. In the highly competitive environment of the CE market, manufacturers are absorbing most of the input hikes. We can only look inward for relief. The focus is therefore on greater indigenisation, resourcing and cost cutting.What is the demand-supply scenario for excavators for different tonnage and horse power?I do not recollect any supply shortage of excavators in the last few years. Even after the tsunami in Japan in 2011, most manufacturers had available stocks. The total market last year was 14, 000 and more. For this year, is not easy to predict. The next few months will make it clearer.There seems to be a trend where the BHL customer graduating to excavators. What is your take on this?Changeover from BHL’s to excavators, I do not see any threat either way. The usage practices and value for money expectations have settled very independently. I am sure that in India, both will co-exist comfortably.Tell us about the range offered by Kobelco India in excavators for various segments.We offer a very comprehensive range of excavators in India from 14 to 85 tonne. These are extremely environment friendly, Tier III machines, with possibly the best fuel average and high production. We are making the 21T in India since April 2011, and will be introducing more machines locally in the near future.