The JCB backhoe loader continues to be the most widely used equipment in India and we constantly keep upgrading the machine to meet the growing requirements of our customers, says Vipin Sondhi, Managing Director and CEO, JCB India. Excerpts from the interview.
The plant hire segment has been a major demand driver for the BHL. Given the fact that the rental market is highly depressed, what is the present demand potential?
In the present economic scenario, the demand prospects across the industry are down, which has affected the plant hirers segment. The slowdown in infrastructure investments, liquidity crunch and several regulatory roadblocks has led to a sharp decline in demand for construction equipment in India. Difficulties in achieving financial closure, land acquisition and issues related to environment and forest clearance continue to hamper progress. However, the long-term prospect of the Indian construction industry seems strong, provided government reforms and execution are implemented without any delay.
Once infrastructure starts moving, we will then see the increase in the demand for construction equipment and thus, growth in the rental market.
What is the impact of the continuing slowdown, especially on JCB's sales performance for BHL?
The demand for all the construction equipment has declined, including the backhoe, because of the ongoing slowdown. However, even in these challenging times, JCB has succeeded in creating new avenues for business through generation of newer markets. In fact, we have seen growth in our market shares across several regions and product categories.
What is the impact of the plummeting rupee and the high cost of financing, especially on FTBs?
With so many ambitious Indians taking to entrepreneurship, several first-time buyers are purchasing our machines because of the value proposition we offer. One of them is that our customers are able to save over Rs 2.5 lakh/year only on (current) diesel prices. To ease the financing process for our customers, JCB has tied up with all the non-banking financial companies and several state-owned banks, which makes it easier for FTBs to avail finance for JCB equipment. We repeatedly introduce new and innovative financial schemes to make the loan offers attractive.
Does the shift towards special equipment and attachment for specific applications have any bearing on the BHL market?
JCB offers the widest range of construction equipment in the industry. We have a dedicated 100-acre facility in Pune that manufactures a world class range of heavy-line machines like tracked excavators, wheel loaders and compactors. Focused factories and focused manpower at JCB and across our dealerships ensures that our entire product range offering in India is upgraded with the latest technology as per the demands of the market.
With the growing complexity of projects, we are now seeing an increase in the use of specialised machinery which will continue to rise in the coming time to meet tight project deadlines.
However, the JCB backhoe loader continues to be the most widely used equipment in India and we constantly keep upgrading the machine to meet the growing requirements of our customers.
Due to its excellent manoeuvrability and its ability to multi-task, the backhoe loader is practically used at every construction site, be it for building dams, multi-level flyovers, power plants, etc. JCB offers an equally wide range of attachments which makes the backhoe loader all the more versatile.
What is the range offered by JCB in BHL in terms of Hp and tonnage. What are the product/ technology trends in the BHL segment?
JCB currently offers five variants, 2DX, 3DX, 3DX Super, 3DX Xtra and 4DX, all manufactured at the world's largest backhoe loader plant in Ballabhgarh. The JCB backhoe loader ranges from 49 hp to 92 hp. This revolutionary machine is powered by the JCB ecoMAX engine which is big on fuel savings and high on performance with 16 valve effort. It comes with a twin ram steering for easy steer ability. 3DX backhoe loader, as mentioned earlier saves upto 2.5 lakh per annum in fuel at current fuel costs.
Very recently, JCB introduced a new version of JCB 3DX, the new JCB 3DXcellence backhoe loader. Regarded as the most fuel-efficient backhoe loader on earth, this machine provides the best return on investment to our esteemed customers.
What is the growth potential for the attachments along with backhoe loaders/excavators?
With the growing infrastructure demand in india, JCB has introduced a wide range of attachments for various purposes which will help in simplying the day-to-day tasks.
JCB attachments offer great versatility and productivity to JCB machines, thus making them suitable for several kinds of applications such as agriculture applications, solid waste management, etc. Our attachments help in hauling, dumping, shredding, clearing and transferring of waste.
JCB offers the most extensive range of hydraulic breakers in the industry i.e. Hammer Master HM 360, Hammer Master HM 380, Hammer Master HM 980, Hammer Master HM 1180, Hammer Master HM 2180.
Our rock breakers are extensively used with our range of world class backhoe loaders and excavators starting from 8T to 21T. Our backhoe loaders can be fitted with HM380, HM360 and our excavators use HM380, HM360, HM980, HM1180 and HM 2180.
The new JCB 3DXcellence backhoe loader provides the best return on investment to our esteemed customers.