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MARKET REPORT COMPACT PLANT


Valuing versatility


Recent events may have affected buying patterns this year, but compact plant suppliers are confident about future prospects.


It is perhaps not surprising to learn that compact plant manufacturers have found it difficult to forecast sales over the last couple of years. In 2015, an eventual total of approximately 14,000 mini excavators of up to 8 tonne were sold in the UK, slightly lower on forecasts made this time last year, with buying patterns disrupted by the General Election. Similarly, this year has seen further uncertainty in the run-up to, and the aftermath of, the Brexit referendum. EHN spoke to a number of suppliers, who estimate that the final figure for mini sales in 2016 could be between 12,000 and 12,500.


“From our point of view, our sales numbers are actually around the same as last year, so we have gained market share,” said Kubota UK MD, Dave Roberts. “Some people feared the market would drop off the edge of a cliff following the referendum Leave vote, but that has not


happened. In fact, our dealers have been busy post-Brexit. There has been some softening in demand, but it has by no means been brutal.”


David Munns, Sales Director of Volvo


Volvo reports steady demand for minis across all weight classes.


Construction Equipment, says


that, “Most people seem confident about the world post-Brexit. It depends on who you listen to and what newspapers you read. Figures suggest that there has been a slight decrease in mini sales generally, but our total will be around the same as last year. Demand has been steady across all weight classes. We are also seeing more machines of 6 tonne and 8 tonne being ordered with attachments like tilt-rotators, and fitted with additional hydraulic lines to power them, suggesting that users want greater versatility from machines. There is also demand from markets outside construction, such as waste management and recycling.”


JCB’s UK and Ireland Sales Director, Dan Thompstone, also states that larger models are proving popular. “This has been driven by increased demand for 8-tonne machines, which are seen as an


51


essential requirement for most sites,


particularly in light of the housebuilding boom.


Demand from regional hirers has been strong this year, and more are extending their offering from 3-tonne up to 5-tonne and 8-tonne to meet the needs of their customers.”


JCB says more hirers have been adding minis of 5-tonne or more to their fleets.


Pleasing dumper sales levels


Compact dumper manufacturers report pleasing sales levels. “We are continuing to trade well with our traditional customer base,” said Ian Brown, Sales Director of Thwaites. “Our 1-tonne range has maintained its market leading position and sales during the year have been encouraging, and look set to continue. Inevitably there is uncertainty surrounding Brexit and Article 50 due to be actioned in March 2017, although currently housing and construction activity is generally positive. It appears the Government is doing all it can to stimulate growth and ensure a smooth exit from Europe.”


Thwaites says that current construction activity is generally positive.


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