Construction

‘Huge’ interest in SDLG graders, says Middle East head

SDLG’s graders are seen as replacements for the discontinued models of its parent firm Volvo CE

PHOTO: SDLG offers two motor grader models in the Middle East, the G9220 and the newer G9190. Credit: SDLG

SDLG is seeing “huge” interest in its grader line, says its Middle East head, as the Volvo CE-owned company looks to fill the gap left by the parent firm’s graders and backhoes.

Volvo CE made the decision in November 2014 to stop producing its grader and backhoe line as part of a global cost-cutting initiative to improve profitability. Volvo CE’s first-quarter sales in 2015 were down 6% on the same period last year, following a 1% decline in 2014.

Graders and backhoes are traditionally more popular in emerging markets, and the SDLG range was seen as a suitable alternative to the premium Volvo CE machines.

It comes as SDLG sales are growing in volume in the GCC.

Speaking at a press conference at INTERMAT in April, Volvo CE president Martin Weissburg said that in recent years SDLG had become “extremely strong in the Middle East”.

“There are some markets in the Middle East where of our products, SDLG has higher share than Volvo brands [do].”

In some of the less-regulated markets, the SDLG motor grader is a “better fit” than the traditional Volvo grader, from a product positioning and price standpoint, said Weissburg.

Given most dealers cover the dual brands, there is a focus on converting existing Volvo customers on the grader and backhoe lines to the SDLG.

Jan-Erik Erikson, head of SDLG in the Middle East, confirmed the firm is working with a “determined focus” to make up for the absent lines with SDLG products.

“We already are delivering motor graders into Oman, Saudi Arabia and Central Asia. The interest is huge. Backhoe loaders will follow later this year.”

Two grader models are being sold: the G9220, which has an operating weight of 16,500kg and a blade base of 2,569mm; and the newer G9190, described as “a well-balanced machine with good traction and great blade down force” on SDLG’s website.

Both machines feature a Dalian Deutz engine and hydraulic torque converter.

According to Erikson, the SDLG dealerships are well established in the Volvo network across the entire Middle East, except in Iraq and Yemen where there is a separate SDLG network.

He believes the motor grader offering will also spur additional interest in other SDLG mainline products – including its wheel-loader range – from road-construction contractors.

However while there is a strategy to migrate customers on the discontinued lines, this won’t affect any of the other business areas, clarified Weissburg, who was appointed as company president on January 1, 2014.

“We are quite purposeful in our product positioning between our premium Volvo products and SDLG. The differentiation is significant, we don’t see a cannibalisation of one brand to the other.”

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