The LiuGong excavator provides the highest productivity in its class, with its effortless hydraulic controls and spacious cabin. LiuGong lays lot of emphasis on operator comfort in order to increase operator efficiency. The machine operates at a higher pressure and hydraulic flow which results in better breakout force and faster cycle time, which further leads to better fuel efficiency, says Rohit Punjabi, Assistant Director (Strategy & Planning), LiuGong India. Excerpts of the interview.
Is the excavator market getting fragmented?
As the market is growing, the number of manufacturers has also increased, thereby bringing the best of technology to Indian customers. We expect the market leaders to command market shares along 12-15 per cent only, in the longer run while the volumes go up for each player. Fragmentation is bringing a lot of choice to the customer.
How positive is the prevailing growth sentiment from the retail segment?
We foresee that the construction industry is on the rise and this will have a significant impact on the excavator segment as well. The market of hydraulic excavators in 2013 was approximately 11,000 units; this is expected to be more than double over the next five years. However, the focus is now shifting to the retail segment and we plan to become a major player in the medium size excavator market in the next four to five years.
What is the current overall demand-supply scenario for excavators?
As the Indian market matures, there is a higher demand of the specialised machines like excavators. Mining and quarrying are the major applications where tracked excavators are used, and accounts for approximately 30-40 per cent of the overall excavator market in India. Roads and highways is the huge growth enabler for the construction equipment market. These are the major growth enablers of the CE industry because they not only use the large construction equipment but also generate secondary demand in cement, steel and mining, which all require a large number of earthmoving and construction equipment.
What is the growth potential for mini excavators?
The excavator market has gained popularity in the last few years and the market will certainly grow in future, as the demand for specialised machinery is on the rise. Due to the decreasing availability and the increasing cost of manual labour, the mini excavator demand has also increased.
Mini excavators are used in niche applications in India, where they prove to be a much more productive and efficient machines especially in those construction sites where working space is restricted. LiuGong offers two models in the mini excavator segment, the CLG906C and CLG908D. Both these models are equipped with a fuel-efficient and reliable engine, best in class hydraulics and transmission, long lasting structure and a big spacious cabin with easy access.
Is non-availability of finance for FTBs of excavators an issue?
LiuGong has always maintained a close relationship with all the financiers to ensure easy availability of finance to first-time buyers (FTBs), and repeat orders for buying any equipment across categories. We have tied up with the major financial institutions which help in financing the LiuGong products to our customers.
Brief us on the value additions offered by LiuGong on the product and service front.
LiuGong India has been continuously working towards providing advance technologies to the customer´s doorstep and that at an affordable price, coupled with world class after sale support. Our strong distribution network is instrumental in providing round the clock after sales support to win the satisfaction of our customers. In the event of machine breakdown, this ensures that LiuGong machines receive the earliest response from our well trained service technicians.
How do you assess the shift of end users opting for value-added features at a premium?
There is a continuous shift of preference from the machine´s buying price to reliability and performance. Demand in value is a very natural phenomenon in a maturing market. The new demand trend is more about value propositions. Our strong dealers´ network is providing 24x7 after sales support in terms of extended warranties, FOC, etc. Now we can proudly say that LiuGong as a brand is considered as a provider of value-added products which deliver reliability and high performance output.
Tell us about the range of excavators you offer.
LiuGong offers a wide range of excavators to the Indian market, ranging from 6T to 36T operating weight range. The machines are offered with various arm/bucket options to suit different applications. With strengthened critical components and superstructure, as well as the proven reliability of hydraulic components, these power-packed robust machines are productive and work in the toughest conditions. The LiuGong excavator provides the highest productivity in its class due to effortless hydraulic controls, and spacious cabin. LiuGong lays lot of emphasis on operator comfort in order to increase operator´s efficiency. The machine operates at a higher pressure and hydraulic flow which results in better breakout force and faster cycle time, which further leads to better fuel efficiency. Our efforts have always been to make most fuel efficient machines for our customers, which also mean our machines are environment friendly. The equipment has with more digging depth, longer machine life, superior technology and service back-up facilities.
Is import of used/new earthmoving equipment a threat the domestic players?
Indian manufacturers are not afraid of fair competition from anywhere, domestic or foreign. For most imported equipment, as per sources, there is a customs duty of 24 per cent which takes care of most of the imbalances in the market, as well as the scale and deficiencies here and abroad.
Do you have a dedicated plant for excavator production?
We have a world class manufacturing facility at Pithampur, Indore, with dedicated assembly lines for wheel loaders and excavators. As of now, we are importing the excavators from our headquarters in China but in the near future, we have plans for starting the production of excavators at our Indian plant according to market demand.
How do you assess the potential for various attachments and what are market trends?
With the growing infrastructure demand in India, LiuGong has introduced a wide range of attachments for various purposes, which will help in simplifying the day to day tasks. LiuGong attachments offer great versatility and productivity to LiuGong machines, thus making them suitable for several types of applications. LiuGong rock breakers are extensively used with our excavator range. As the demand for excavators increases with the new infrastructure projects, the demand for the rock breakers will also go up.
We have plans for starting the production of excavators at our Indian plant according to market demand.