Hafeez Khan, Managing Director, Manitou South Asia
Expanding customer baseThere is a natural effect of BS IV implementation in the construction Industry. Any changes in the norms affects the volume of the business. However, the backhoe loader volumes are back on track. Since the last quarter of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023 has been phenomenal. The H1 has seen an increment of 24% yoy. While FTBs and FTUs are the largest segment of customers in the industry, we have been successfully tapping the large corporate customers. We are closely associated with rental companies to offer long-term value propositions for our products through their entire lifecycle. And we are engaging with finance partners to bring attractive loan options for FTBs and FTUs. Overall, we are quite optimistic about our backhoe loader business in 2023 and are ready with the new emission changes anticipated in 2024.
We are offering our 74.5 HP machine NA variants to new rental players and HT versions to large corporations and contractors. We also offer a MBL HT + model which is built with a variable displacement pump of 145 LPM. This machine has been instrumental to work for larger production to replace the 90HP segment. The speed and productivity of this machine is considered to be the best in class. We have improvised the design of our MBL 745 such that its maintenance cycle has extended, bringing savings of 20% per year to the users. We don’t see any impact of 49 HP machines in the industry. With the implementation of BSV norms, the product life cycle of 49 HP is until April 2024 only.
Improved design and exportsOur new backhoe was launched with a closed DCPD bonnet; being unbreakable, it has enhanced the safety of the engine compartment. There is a new operator seat in the cabin and a new music system which gives a sense of luxury. We have changed the design of the operating levers to make their operations smoother. Our machines have always given the highest flow of the pumps, which improves performance and makes operations faster. As per customer feedback, Manitou backhoe loaders are 20% more productive than any other brand.
We have a very good presence in export markets. While the basic platform of the backhoe loaders remains the same, we fit the export-oriented machines with engines that meet the emission norms of the country being exported to and we use different drivelines in them. We are also meeting the requirements of different countries in terms of HVAC, ROPS/FOPS, extending dippers or breakers, etc.
Product reliability, availability, fuel efficiencyThe customer looks at product reliability, availability, fuel efficiency, and technical support – all of which we are committed to. We are offering add-on features like standard warranty of two years, easy manager that ensure machine optimization, including their reliability quotient and operator comfort. In fact, we are the only one in the backhoe industry to offer a standard two-year warranty on our backhoes.
We are strengthening product support for our customers by expanding our dealer network. As a family-owned company, we believe that our dealers are also valued members of our family as they are instrumental in driving sales and supporting our customers with spare parts and other technical services. We have recently added a two-year warranty on our backhoe loaders. This also ensures that our dealers engage with customers for longer periods and increase their sales of parts and services, and thereby earn more revenue.