Rapid growth

24 April 2008

A Booming Construction industry and political confidence has helped Turkey's construction equipment market undergo some rapid growth in the last few years. According to the Construction Equipment Distributors & Manufacturers Association of Turkey (IMDER), sales have gone from 5275 units in 2004 to 8700 units in 2005. IMDER predicts that sales will reach 10600 machines this year.

A sudden fall in exchange rates in May this year, which saw the Turkish Lira drop -12% against the US dollar and -5% against the Euro, may affect this optimism. But exhibitors and visitors to June's Ankomak exhibition in Istanbul, Turkey were confident that this would only be a temporary set back and the market will achieve the expected +20% growth.

Inflation from the falling exchange rates may not benefit Turkey's internal construction equipment market, but its exporters could gain. One Ankomak exhibitor looking to grow both its domestic and export sales is Hidromek, and centre stage on its stand was a prototype of its new backhoe loader. Backhoe loaders are a key product in Turkey with sales representing around 40% of total unit volume in 2005.

“We will formally launch the 102B Hi-concept at Bauma in Germany next year,” said Hidromek managing director Ahmet Bozkurt. “The machine has a customer orientated design with a larger, more comfortable cabin with improved styling. One of the most obvious changes is the use of a ‘banana-style' boom which is easier to operate close to the machine with less risk of damage.”

Mr Bozkurt told CE that Hidromek will add other backhoe loader models with the same design features during 2007 and once roll out is complete, it will renew its excavator range. Also on display at Ankomak was Hidromek's new 30 tonne excavator and the company has plans to extend its range up to 36 tonnes by 2008.

“We are also looking to add compact excavators to our product range - possibly by 2008 - to meet export demands. The compact market has yet to take off in Turkey due to cheap labour costs but the need to improve efficiency will drive development of this sector,” said Mr Bozkurt.

Another Turkish manufacturer, Sanko, also told CE of plans to unveil a new backhoe loader model at next year's Bauma exhibition. Sanko is a dealer for Doosan in Turkey and developed its current range of Mestas backhoes to plug the gap in Doosan's product line-up.

Sanko managing director Serhan Isildar said, “We opened a new backhoe loader factory in Turkey late last year that has boosted our production capacity to 1000 units per year for each shift. Our exports to the Middle East and Africa are growing but we are targeting the European market with our new machines.” Mr Isildar also hinted at a possibly tie-up with Doosan that could see Mestas backhoe loaders sold under the Doosan name.

Local Istanbul-based breaker manufacturer Inan Makina also unveiled its new 2,5 tonne MTB 250 and 7 tonne MTB 700 breakers at the exhibition. The MTB 250 is designed for use with carriers in the 35 tonne weight class, while the MTB 700- Inan Makina's largest model - is aimed at 60 to 70 tonne machines.

Both new models, like the rest of the company's range, are available in a low noise specification.

Telehandlers, compact equipment and access equipment are all fairly new to the Turkish construction market. None of the dealers for the major manufacturers, which were exhibiting at Ankomak, are predicting overnight success for these products but expect significant growth within five years.

Acarlar Makine, a dealer for Haulotte, Scanclimber and Omme in Turkey, was exhibiting at Ankomak for the first time. Acarlar sales manager Osman Kosmaz said, “There is a huge potential market for access equipment in Turkey but there is very little knowledge that the equipment exists. If Turkey wants to join the EU, our construction industry will have to improve safety, so access equipment will be needed.”

General consensus among Ankomak's exhibitors suggests that Turkey's construction equipment market would benefit from Turkey becoming part of the EU. IMDER became a member of the Committee for European Construction Equipment (CECE) earlier this year, adding weight to the industry's pro-Europe stance.

“In 2002 Turkey was the 16th biggest construction equipment market in terms of unit sales, in 2005 we were the 6th largest,” said IMDER secretary general Faruk Aksoy. “By 2009 we expect sales to reach levels which will challenge Spain's position as Europe 5th largest market. Gaining membership of the EU will help add momentum to this growth.”

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