The demand for skid steers in the long term remains positive and the industry is expected to reach a level of 1,000 units in 2018.
As the affordability of the skid steers becomes more attractive with respect to the loader backhoes, its popularity will increase among the hiring segment that will up the demand curve. The current demand for skid steer is not quite promising. Says Amit Gossain, EVP - Sales, Marketing and Business Development, JCB India, ´The current demand for skid steers in India is on the lower side; however, we are certain that coming years will see an increase in the demand of this product. A leading research firm, Off-Highway Research indicates that demand for skid steers in 2015 is expected to be around 600 units. The demand for skid steers in the long term remains positive and the industry is expected to reach a level of 1,000 units in 2018.´ Says Abhijit Gupta, Managing Director, Case Construction Equipment India, ´The market size for skid steer loaders in 2014 was about 400 units and looking at its growing popularity along with the growth sentiment intact to be above 500 units in 2015 and close to 1,000 units in 2020.´ According to S Manjunath, General Manager - Sales, Doosan Infracore, 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 basis. The demand v/s supply is at par as of now. However, we predict a moderate to high growth in the demand in the next few years due to rising infra projects.´
´Skid steer market by 2018 is expected to grown at a CAGR of over 23 per cent,´ says Sunil Tiku, Senior Director - Sales & Marketing, Terex Equipment. He adds, ´The current market demand in 2014 was at about 500 units, this will grow to more than 600 units in 2015. Innovative sales and marketing efforts by Terex are expected to yield good results and help us retain our 40 per cent market share in 2015.´ He adds, ´In the current situation, housing estates, and urban infrastructure maintenance works seem to be the biggest two verticals driving the demand for skid steer loaders. Our Sales force is actively engaged with big players in this segment. Metro rail projects are another area of high potential for promoting skid steers.´
The exponential growth of the backhoe market in India, to a great extent, has been fuelled by the innovative use of the machine, especially by the hiring segment; whereas skid steers that are a step above the loader backhoe in its range of applications, is still at a concept selling phase. Backhoes too, were a concept selling for almost a decade, but the increase in demand has come by the ingenuity of few customers who have made a business proposition by entering into hiring market. The customers who bought the machines expanded the scope of application by finding new ways of using machines which led to expansion of market. Since the return on investment was good, others followed suit, increasing the sale volume over the years.
Says Manjunath, ´When the hirers enter the market (like backhoes) they could be the trigger to generate the spurt in demand. In case of skid steer loaders, the versatility with its ability to work in confined space stand apart which is unlikely in the case of backhoes. Furthermore, in last few years, customers have started realizing the advantages with skid steer with numerous attachments used across wide range of applications right from solid waste management, especially in municipal corporations, manufacturing industries, agriculture, and material handling, and so on.´ Says Gupta ´The hiring segment for the loader backhoe machine is large due to its versatility in use for different heavy duty applications. The skid steer loader is step above the loader backhoe in its range of applications. As the affordability of the skid steers becomes more attractive with respect to the loader backhoes, its popularity will increase among the hiring segment.´
Suitable for a wide variety of applications, including mining, construction, landscaping and agriculture skid steers will find its niche also for working in confined spaces. As people will realise how convenient it is to employ these machines for specialized applications more will opt for these machines. Says Gupta, ´As an OEM, Case India continues to remain focussed on increasing the awareness of skid steers through concept selling in India among its esteemed customer base.´
The major buyers for these machines are the civic bodies; construction companies (housing), process industries to name a few. However, according to Manjunath there is lot of scope for expansion in many such sectors for equipment utilization by using right kind of attachments along with the machines. He says, ´Predominantly the machines are being sold with standard loader bucket thus limiting its application. By understanding the customer´s application and suggesting the right attachment to fulfill his need would certainly increase the sales volumes.´ He adds, ´We have more than 75 attachments and in India the fast moving attachments are sweeper collector, mucking bucket, combination bucket, grader, pole planter, brick handler, augur, backhoe, rock breaker, pallet fork, grappler to name a few apart from standard loader bucket.´
According to Gossain, solid waste management is another major application area that may spur the demand for skid steers. He says, ´JCB Robot is an extremely versatile machine that is specifically designed to work in a variety of applications. This machine also holds the potential to be an ideal machine for solid waste management applications. JCB Robot comes with a vast array of attachments like industrial grapple, fork, rock breaker, shovel, vibratory rollers, etc. which makes the machine suitable for many applications such as agriculture, industry, construction, demolition, material handling and maintenance. With the mechanical quick-hitch, one can easily switch between the vast ranges of attachments and can perform array of jobs with utmost ease and comfort.´
Manjunath observes, ´With efforts made to creating awareness of the national level campaign, ´Swachh Bharat Abhiyan´(Clean India Mission) by the Government of India to clean the streets, roads and infrastructure of the country, we believe that such equipment would complement to this drive.´
Tiku sums it up on a high note. ´Terex skid steers operate in a niche segment and its versatility is when it operates with various attachments. The hiring segment is small but growing. Urban infrastructure maintenance is an attractive segment and many operators have tapped into this potential. With smart cities concept it is further estimated to catch the attention of plant hirers and grow.´
Major buyers for these machines are the civic bodies; construction companies (housing), process industries to name a few.
Market size for skid steer loaders in 2014 is 400 units
Expected to reach 600 units in 2015
The demand to touch 1,000 units in 2018.
Expected to grow at a CAGR of over 23 per cent by 2018
Case Construction as a global leader in skid steer loaders, is currently offering the Case SR130 skid steer loader in India. This comes with an operating weight of nearly 2.25 T with an engine delivering a torque of 130 Nm at 49 HP. Operating capacity at half the tipping load is about 600 kg with almost 20 Nm of bucket breakout force, which is good enough for most of the applications.
Doosan -The S450 joins the M-Series skid-steer loader line, which includes the S450, S550, S590, and S650skid-steer loaders. All M-Series loaders share features such as improved power and performance, good all-around visibility and outstanding operator comfort.
JCB India presently offers two India made skid steer loaders - JCB Robot-135 and Robot-155. Says Gossain, ´JCB Robot is set to revolutionize the material handling process in India with its best in class fuel efficiency, unmatched productivity and operator comfort. The engine has been designed to give maximum performance with lowest fuel consumption. The cab has 46 per cent more volume and capacity against competition; 20 per cent better breakout forces provide higher productivity and maximum output.