When East and West unite
SDLG’s B877 backhoe loader made its grand debut at bauma Conexpo Africa 2015.
Cost-effective machines stripped of all the bells and whistles are growing in popularity at a time when contractors’ order books remain thin.
Chief executive officer of Babcock International Group Africa’s equipment operations, Derek Smythe says southern Africa has become a growing market for value brands, considering the continued success of its SDLG equipment offering in South Africa and across the country’s borders. SDLG is a Chinese brand that was bought by Volvo Construction Equipment in 2008 to complement its own offering of premium equipment brands. As the dealer for southern Africa for Volvo Construction Equipment, Babcock also took on the SDLG range. Smythe believes this was a strategic move, considering that Babcock has sold more SDLG units than initially intended, even in a market notorious for fiercely resisting new brands, especially those from China.
Babcock is set to continue challenging leading brands in the market, evident from the launch of SDLG’s B877 backhoe loader, although it’s being contested by several compact loader and excavator offerings. Backhoe loaders – commonly referred by South African contractors as tractor loader backhoes (TLB) – is a big market in the country, and is dominated by well-known premium brands, including the likes of Caterpillar, Bell Equipment, JCB and Case, to name a few.
Stefan Bach, SDLG business manager for Africa, says, “The competitively priced B877 backhoe loader offers customers a fast return on their investment, as well as excellent performance in a wide range of applications. With a decline in the mining sector, this is a challenging market at the moment but with more focus on construction at the moment, the B877 backhoe loader is an ideal solution for small contractors and other construction customers.”
However, many will agree that SDLG’s success in southern African markets can also be attributed to Babcock’s role in the partnership. Unlike other newcomers to the South African construction equipment sector, SDLG has a massive competitive edge with Babcock’s already well-established presence in its southern African territories. As a long-time dealer of Volvo Construction Equipment, Babcock already has a sound platform in place to represent the newer SDLG brand, with both the technical skills and solid infrastructure in its southern African territories.
Equipment Africasays: At a time when contracts are few and far between, contractors realise great value in value brands, especially those that have sound backup service in place such as SDLG. Babcock’s extensive infrastructure across southern Africa means that this brand has become a real value offering for the equipment operator.