M&M enters construction equipment sector

By Chris Sleight11 February 2011

India's largest tractor maker has used bC India to enter the construction equipment sector with the launch of a backhoe loader, following a three-year research & development programme. Uniquely for an Indian backhoe, the machine features excavator-style joystick controls as well as a sophisticated telematics system.

Power for the 'Earth Master' comes from Mahindra's own 83 kW, 3.3 litre engine. The rear excavator arm offers 5.8 tonnes of breakout force and a 4.4 m dig depth, while the front loader has a 2.7 m dump height and 6.2 tonnes of breakout force. It also comes with a two-year unlimited warranty.

But arguably the defining feature of the machine is the sophisticated 'Remote Care' telematics system that Mahindra has installed. This not only performs standard tracking, health monitoring and performance monitoring of such systems, but also features innovative ways of communicating with the operator and owner.

Sushant Bisht, deputy general manager for marketing and strategy - construction equipment explained, "Not all operators in India are literate, so if there is a problem there is a visual warning system and an audio warning in the operator's local dialect."

The system of alerts also sends an SMS message to the machines owner.

The Earth Master has been priced to compete with JCB - the dominant force in the Indian backhoe loader market, and Mr Bisht said that by the end of the year the company will have 50 or more dealers in place with in excess of 200 outlets around India.

He said the company's initial manufacturing capacity is about 200 backhoe loaders per month - equivalent to about 10% of the Indian market. "We have a modular design to out factory so we can ramp up production in three or four months if we need to," concluded Mr Bisht.

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