BOBCAT’S global partnership network and new investments were highlighted at a recent meeting of its top brass and dealers, where the curtains were also raised on the latest product innovations from this leading Doosan Infracore brand.
The event also marked the production of Bobcat’s one-millionth loader – a very important milestone for the company, representing its leadership, commitment and innovation in the compact equipment sector.
The Bobcat Convention, held in Prague, the Czech Republic (May 22 to 23), also revealed plans for an innovation centre that will play a key role in Bobcat product development. It was attended by more than 500 invitees including VIPs, dealers, the press and Doosan/Bobcat executives.
The event also included a visit to the nearby factory and training centre at Dobris, where Bobcat provided a sneak preview of its new E20 mini-excavator.
At the meeting, Martin Knoetgen, head of Doosan Benelux and Bobcat’s EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) president, emphasised the strength of brand Bobcat and its growing presence in the region. “The Bobcat brand has a tremendous potential for growth.
“Products like MEX and telehandlers can leverage the reputation of skid-steer loaders, as they are now equal in performance and endurance. We are continuously upgrading our existing product portfolio and improving our after-market service performance,” said Knoetgen.
“We’re also considering expanding into new segments and applications with Bobcat products. The Bobcat brand will become even stronger and confirm its premium position,” he added.
Doosan’s EMEA operation is responsible for the sales and marketing of Bobcat machines and attachments in Europe including CIS, Middle East and Africa (MEA), and Doosan sales in Europe, while also taking care of the manufacture and global distribution of the special attachments branded as Montabert (breakers and drifters) and Geith (buckets and couplers).
Knoetgen indicated that Bobcat represents about one-third share of Doosan’s global construction equipment sales.
In the EMEA, Bobcat contributes more than 50 per cent to Doosan’s revenues, with its skid-steer and compact track loaders enjoying the highest market share – nearly 50 per cent – of the global Doosan family. Some 192,000 loaders have been sold in this region, with the S130 having been the all-time favourite.
Commenting on the performance of each type of machine in the markets, he says: “The market dynamics are very different depending on region and country, segment and application. Skids are strong in MEA, MEX in Europe, and telehandlers are shared equally between construction and agricultural applications. So we are well-balanced concerning the regional mix.”
Doosan, which is poised to break the €1-billion ($1.35 billion) mark in revenues, aims to continue to invest in new products and production equipment, as well as in infrastructure and capabilities to develop advanced products and services, said Knoetgen, citing the example of the new R&D (research and development) campus in Dobris, which manufactures products not only for the EMEA market but also for the North American and Asian markets.
Jose Cuadrado, Bobcat’s vice-president for its compact business, said the Dobris campus is much more than a manufacturing site. “It’s a place for innovation, research and development and continuous learning, and the company has continued to invest in the future.
“We manufacture more than 7,000 machines a year at this site. These include six models of mini-excavators and nine loader models. All factory processes are engineered to improve safety, product quality and delivery, using automotive quality principles.
“Our design centre is based at the Dobris campus, which is responsible worldwide for the design and product development of MEX from 0 to 3 tonnes and loaders up to the (newly launched) S450 size class,” said Cuadrado.
He also revealed plans to build a new innovation centre in front of the factory, which is expected to serve as a catalyst for product development.
Another important milestone for Bobcat is the introduction of its new Bobcat diesel engine which is EU Stage IIIB and Tier IV compliant. “This is a strategic initiative for us – it required large investments, but we are also confident that it will bring long-term benefits to us and our partners.
“Being part of the Doosan group allowed us to leverage the expertise that Doosan has gained over the years in the world of engines. Doosan’s expertise in engines was combined with Bobcat’s extensive expertise in compact machinery.
“The new Bobcat engines have been developed with the input of Bobcat customers – and very importantly, they’ve been tested and validated by the Bobcat standards under very demanding climate conditions at our testing facilities in the US and Europe,” Cuadrado said.
Meanwhile, Doosan has continued to invest in its telescopic handler factory located in Ponchateau, France, which serves the world. “We recently invested in new welding robots for our structures and arms and this year we will install a state-of-the-art shot blasting tunnel,” said Norbert Donaberger, vice-president for the company’s global business unit that comprises Montabert, Geith and Bobcat telehandler businesses.
Bobcat has also recently launched its T40140 and T40180, which are the new advanced versions of the company’s two largest rigid frame telescopic handlers.
The company is now aiming for new product launches every two months starting at end of this year.
The event culminated with a preview of Bobcat’s new-generation one to two-tonne mini-excavators (the first units of which are expected to be delivered in the last quarter of this year) – the details of which will be released shortly.
“The new E17, E19 and E20 models are the last pieces to complete the Bobcat mini-excavator product line,” said Jarry Fiser, product line director for Bobcat’s mini-excavators.