The Mahindra EarthMaster backhoe loader is designed for efficacy in today’s competitive scenario. The EarthMaster allows the customer to do his work with higher productivity because of its third generation hydraulic system which allows operator to operate the boom, dipper and bucket at the same time, says Kairas Vakharia, Business Head, Mahindra & Mahindra.Kairas shares his views on the BHL market with EQUIPMENT INDIA. Excerpts from the interview.The sales forecast by Off-Highway Research for backhoes is pegged at 36,000 units by 2015, from 30,000 in 2011, whereas for the crawler excavator alone the forecast is 35,000 units, up from the 2011 figure of 14,500. Is the backhoe’s dominance decreasing? Crawler excavators are present over a wide range of tonnage starting from 6.1 T to 50T above and foster the need of large-range customers demanding machines that can help them finish their projects faster.However, backhoe loaders are more versatile machines which fit a slightly different market where a customer enters into the earthmoving business and moves onto bigger things, with the help of a backhoe loader. Does this also indicate the growing preference from the end-user community towards specific, application-oriented machines? The end-user always looks for a multipurpose machine in the market. The decision of selecting a machine by an end-user is more dependent upon the type of work he gets at the time of purchase, rather than being specific towards a particular type of application. There is a school of thought that there is a visible drift from the backhoe market towards the wheel loaders market, especially in the below 10T capacity.Backhoe loaders and wheel loaders serve different application needs of the industry. Backhoe loaders are mostly used for backhoe operations whereas a wheel loader is used for loading operations.Both the equipment are designed for completely different duty cycles.In loading operations, wheel loaders are much more productive and reliable than backhoe loaders and best suited for the industries such as crushers, wagon loading, etc. So there should not be any threat to the backhoe loader market from the wheel loader.In such an evolving scenario, is there any shift in your business strategy? What are the major value propositions from Mahindra in terms of fuel efficiency, performance, back-up service, availability of spares, etc? The evolving scenario of today demands quick innovations in all earthmoving products. Keeping that in mind, Mahindra works on the theme of bringing technically advanced products at an optimum price which allow customers to break free from the limitations of old technology and rise.Mahindra has offered the Mahindra EarthMaster backhoe loader whose major value proposition is its fuel efficiency with which a customer can save up to Rs 50,000 per year on fuel in comparison to other products in the market. Mahindra is allowing customers to increase on their profits in the competitive market. The growth of the mini-excavator market was successfully blocked by backhoes initially. Do you think that the projected growth in the mini- excavator market will impact the backhoe market? Initially the price of mini-excavators was high in comparison to backhoe loaders.Today, their price has come down to the price level of the backhoe loader.This can make customers drift towards mini-excavators because of their speed in comparison to the backhoe loader but this shift is very slow and should not make any drastic impact on the backhoe loader market.Tell us about the range offered by Mahindra. At present, Mahindra is offering 83 HP Mahindra EarthMasters in the backhoe loader segment. Some of the unique features of the EarthMaster are:Engine: The BSIII compliant Mahindra DITEC engine which delivers 83 HP power and 321 Nm peak gross torque from a compact 3330 cc engine.It saves over 10 percent fuel per hour, allowing customers to lower costs and be more successful in the very competitive contracting and hiring business. Hydraulics: Third generation advanced hydraulic system which allows the operator to move the bucket, dipper and boom at the same time, which makes operator smart and more productive.Joystick controls: Joystick controls for backhoe operation which permit operators effortless operation for long hours.Remotecare: An intelligent communication system that continuously keeps the customer informed about the machine through mobile phone-based SMS updates on daily work report, fuel level, warnings like low fuel, filter clogging and low engine oil. Alerts also sent to Mahindra’s customer care centre and dealer to provide prompt customer support.Warranty: Two years of unlimited hours of warranty which allow customers to work on the machine without any limitation on the number of working hours. Structure: Banana boom which provides customers 7percent more digging reach in comparison to other backhoe loaders, and 0.27 cu m size of backhoe bucket which allows customers to dig 12 percent more every time. Brief us on the attachments offered along with the backhoe. At present, Mahindra offers the general purpose backhoe bucket which is 12 percent bigger than other existing buckets in the market. Soon, we will be offering other backhoe attachments as well.Does Mahindra offer telematics in its backhoes range? Mahindra & Mahindra brought telematics for the first time in the history of backhoe loaders, to India.The Mahindra EarthMaster comes with a unique feature called REMOTECARE which allows customer to get information about his EarthMaster such as number of working hours, fuel level, total distance travelled, anytime on his mobile phone. REMOTECARE also informs the customer in advance about any upcoming failure on the machine. Whenever there is an upcoming failure on the machine, REMOTECARE system sends an SMS on the mobile phone of the customer, dealer and to the company customer care.This way, the customer can avoid a major breakdown on his EarthMaster.REMOTECARE also speaks to the operator in a choice of regional languages.In such a competitive scenario, why should a customer buy from Mahindra? The Mahindra EarthMaster backhoe loader is designed keeping in mind today’s competitive scenario. Our customer can save up to Rs 50,000 on diesel with the Mahindra EarthMaster and increase on his earnings.Also, the Mahindra EarthMaster allows the customer to do his work with higher productivity because of its third generation hydraulic system which allows the operator to multifunction and operate the boom, dipper and bucket at the same time.With the Mahindra EarthMaster, a customer saves on his maintenance cost too, as Mahindra offers a warranty of two years with an unlimited number of hours.