Rise of mini-excavators in Africa

Nicolas Dumont, district sales manager – Africa for Doosan Bobcat for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) provides African Review a snapshot into a growing market

bobcat e50 trenching s6c6675 19p2 fcTOUSEE50 is a popular mini-excavator model in Africa. (Image credit: Bobcat)

AR: Which mini-excavator models are doing well in Africa?  

In terms of Bobcat sales, our best sellers are the E50 and E55 in the 5-6 t segment. The E50 and E55 are extremely popular. Looking at their market share in Africa, it is more than double that for EMEA, which is a strong sign of the dealer focus and market acceptance. Even though the volumes are smaller, we also have good shares in the E17 (1-2 t segment) and E35 (3-4 t segment).

The mini-excavator business in Africa is still rather small at the moment as many companies still prefer the backhoe loader (BHL). In addition, construction companies are encouraged to use labour to help local communities rather than use machinery like mini-excavators.

AR: Will this preference for BHL change anytime soon in the future?

There is no doubt that the market will sooner or later shift from BHL to mini-excavator as the market becomes more mature. We see it in South Africa, which today represents half of the mini-excavator demand on the continent. That means it is important for Bobcat to be ready for that shift. So we constantly challenge our dealers to ensure they keep a focus on the mini-excavator opportunities.

AR: Tell us how Bobcat has navigated its way through the Covid-19 crisis?

The Covid-19 crisis has been very tough as business completely stopped overnight for several months. “Partners for the best and for the worse” has been our philosophy. We have kept in close contact with our dealer network to support them in this challenging time. We have organised webinars and other briefings on dealing with the situation, dealing with topics such as customer support, keeping teams motivated, cash flow management as well as ensuring they are ready for a restart of business without losing opportunities.

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