The market for skid steers is likely to grow from the present level of 450-500 units to 1,000 units by 2016.
The potential for skid steer loaders is good in the country and currently the growth rate is hovering around 8-10 per cent per annum year on year. The demand-supply is at par, as of now. The major buyers for these machines are civic bodies, construction companies (housing), process industries, and the like. "There is lot of scope for expansion of equipment utilisation by using the right kind of attachments along with the machines. However, the machines are predominantly being sold with standard loader buckets, thus limiting its application. Understanding the customer's application and suggesting the right attachment to fulfill his need would certainly increase sales volumes," says A Venkataramana, Director - Sales, Doosan Infracore.
Dinesh Nain, Regional Manager-North, Terex Equipment says, "At present, the demand for skid steers in India is still on the lower side. However, we strongly feel that this trend will not continue for long. As labour is becoming scarce and expensive day by day, the demand should pick up."
According to Amit Gossain, EVP - Marketing, Business Development and Corporate Affairs, JCB India, the skid steer market is still in its nascent stage in India. "But given its versatility, the machine population has increased rapidly over the last few years. The small, compact structure of the machine is designed to operate in restricted areas and hence, can be used for wide range of applications such as agriculture, industry, construction, demolition, material handling and maintenance," Amit says. He adds, "The skid-steer loader is a very versatile machine, and can be used in a wide range of applications with a multiplicity of attachments.JCB has designed wide range of attachments for its skid steer range such as sweeper collectors, industrial fork, grapple muck fork, etc. Apart from this, JCB offers a wide range of attachments for various purposes such as demolition, foundation, trenching and other activities. We offer the most extensive range of hydraulic breakers in the industry i.e, Hammer Master HM 360, Hammer Master HM 380, Hammer Master HM 880, Hammer Master HM 1180, Hammer Master HM 2180." Currently, JCB offers two variants of new generation skid steers in India which offer unparallelled 270 degrees of visibility thus, making it the world's safest skid steer with a single door side entry. JCB skid steers are highly suited to work in tight and confined areas. They come with pressure sealed cab and low effort controls which helps in reducing operator fatigue.
Speaking about the application areas, Venkataramana says, "Skid steer loaders are generally preferred when the area available for movement is highly restricted. Wheel loaders need lot of space to manoeuvre and can handle bigger loads. The single deciding factor for a skid steer loader is its ability to turn on its own axis, which is the most needed criteria at times. Also, the compactness of the machine, coupled with excellent capability to suit varied applications by interchanging attachments, will give the machine a great edge over the normal front-end loader."
He adds, "The usage of skid steer loader is still in a nascent stage in India. However, with more awareness about its applications coupled with shortage of manpower, the need for this machine should increase in next two to three years. We estimate that the industry, from its present levels of 450-500 units, should grow to 1,000 units by 2016."
Dinesh sums up the situation thus: "The future for the skid steer loader is bright with increasing awareness and unavailability of manpower in the country. As the number of machines is increasing and once these machines are procured by plant hirers, the sales volume is bound to increase across the country, which augurs well for all the players in the market."