Haulotte to manufacture in Asia
By Chris Sleight03 December 2008
Haulotte plans to start manufacturing platforms in Asia in 2009 according to chief operating officer Alexandre Saubot. Speaking at last week's Bauma China exhibition in Shanghai he said, "Before the end of next year, we will be producing machines in Asia - it's likely to be in China. It's part of our strategy - we want to have production, sales and service in every region of the world."
The powered access market in China is in an embryonic state at present. Haulotte estimates the total market was just US$ 40 million last year, US$ 25 million of which was accounted for by the shipbuilding industry where large telescopic boom platforms are popular.
However, the company sees the market taking off, "Probably in the next three to seven years," according to Mr Saubot, driven by the need for greater safety and productivity.
According to Haulotte's research, there were 3000 deaths due to falls from scaffolding on construction sites in China last year - about four times as many as in the US. Mr Saubot said "One day this will become a political or social issue, and we know from our experience around the world that the only way to deal with this issue is to progressively replace scaffolding with powered access equipment."
Another crucial ingredient for the success of powered access in China is seen as the establishment of an equipment rental industry. However, like the access market, the Chinese rental industry is still immature. "Today in China rental is not very easy for tax reasons, and because of local habits. People are not very careful with machines they don't own, and are not open to the idea for paying for a machine that they don't own," said Mr Saubot.
However, he added, "We do start seeing rental developing, but you work with people you know and trust, and so it is a little limited in the beginning."