Shantui rips a sizeable share of the Southern African bulldozer market
In a market that is traditionally dominated by premium OEMs, Chinese construction equipment manufacturer Shantui continues to rip a sizeable share of the southern African bulldozer market.
In 2007 Chinese construction equipment manufacturer Shantui entered the market with its range of dozers to challenge the dominance of premium makers. A subsidiary of Shandong Heavy Industry in China and local distribution holding company Ever Star Industries (Pty) Ltd, Shantui has in the past few years expanded beyond reliance on a single product line through an acquisition strategy.
To date, the company is known as the bulldozer king in China, holding about 60% share of the domestic Chinese dozer market, according to David Gao, chief operating officer at Ever Star Industries, the authorised dealer of the Shantui range of construction equipment in South Africa. Back in 2010, it went on to become the largest producer of bulldozers on a global scale, making over 10 000 units that year or two in five crawler-type dozers produced in the world. The next largest producer by number of units was Caterpillar. At present, Shantui’s annual production capacity exceeds 15 000 units of bulldozers.
Meanwhile, South Africa is a 200-unit per year dozer market, and to date, Shantui claims to own 5-10% share of the particular market. Gao alludes to the fact that South Africa, as the most advanced equipment market in southern Africa, is still dominated by premium dozer manufacturers. However, Shantui is the next biggest supplier of dozers by volume to the local market, especially in construction and small and medium mining applications. While South Africa remains the biggest dozer market in the region, Gao says, Shantui has made strong inroads into the rest of southern Africa where several of its units are operating in countries such as Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Since its arrival in southern Africa back in 2010, the Chinese construction equipment maker has well over 1000 units operating in the field.
One of the key competitive edges is that Shantui plays in the value sector of the market, and few other competitors in this market category have minimal focus on their dozer offerings. Gao says Shantui’s dozer offerings are reliable, basic pieces of equipment that come with no extra 'bells and whistles' often found on premium makers’ products.
The simplicity approach meets the needs of the upcoming construction contracting fraternity, as well as smaller and medium miners, and these market segments remain the lucrative and targeted customer base for Shantui. Obviously our biggest benefit to this group of customers is our price advantage. Because we offer a simple product that comes with no expensive and sophisticated features, we are able to sell our dozers at a significantly lesser price compared with the premium OEMs, adds Gao. Another key competitive edge of the Shantui dozer range is the quality of the machine, which Gao says is based on critical components from renowned manufacturers such as Komatsu and Cummins. Apparently, in China, Shantui started off as a Komatsu dozer importer before it ventured into the production of its own gear.
In Africa, we still stick to less advanced, but robust mechanical offerings, says Gao. He reasons that the simplicity of the product not only translates into ease of maintenance, but also means it can be serviced at customer level, timeously. Overall, our key competitive edges are price, quality and ease of maintenance.
Having a good product is one thing, and being able to offer crucial backup and parts support when the product is operational in the field, is quite another. Based on a clear understanding of this notion, in 2014, Shantui abandoned its subsidiary approach in southern Africa and appointed Everstar, the local distributor of Powerstar trucks in the region, as its authorised dealer. This allowed to brand to leverage Everstar’s strong dealer network across the region, complemented by the distributor’s strong financial purse to keep a sizeable inventory of parts to better service Shantui customers operating across the region.
Shantui offers an extended dozer range to the southern African market, with over 10 models available for customers in the region. The range spans from the smaller SD 16, which compares with Caterpillar’s D6 model, to the larger SD 52-5, which is in the same class size as Caterpillar’s D10. The range covers several market segments including farming, construction, forestry, small to medium mining, as well as coal mining. The SD 16 is said to be Shantui’s best-seller globally. The medium-duty dozer, with its 17 t operating weight, comes in various configurations for specific work environments such as desert, swamp, forest and high altitudes. It is powered by a Shangchai C6121ZG70B or Steyr WD10G175E15 engine delivering 120 kW of power.
The SD52-5, with its 67,5 t operating weight, is the largest Shantui dozer available in southern Africa. It features a modular design for easy disassembly and speedy repair. It is powered by a four-stroke, in-line, water-cooled electronic control, turbocharged Cummins QSK19 engine delivering 392 kW of rated power at 1 800 rpm. Other notable models in this range are the SD22W and the SD32W. The SD22W features a reinforced undercarriage, arms and blade for challenging applications such as large rocks and boulders. With a 23,4 t operating weight, it comes with a thicker blade and plated arms for greater strength and durability. Powered by a Cummins NT855-C280S10 engine delivering 162 kW of power, this model is well suited for heavy mining applications and is said to be one Shantui’s top sellers in Africa.
The SD32W is third largest among Shantui’s line-up of heavy-duty dozers. It is suited for challenging applications in rocky and frozen environments. It comes with a rock-type blade and tracks to navigate challenging conditions. With its 38 t operating weight, it is said to be one of the best-selling models into the mining segment. Powered by a Cummins NTA855-C360S10 engine delivering 235 kW of power at 2 000 rpm, the SD32W comes with a hydraulic drive system with hydraulic control technology which provides greater performance and flexible operation.
Meanwhile, at this year’s CONEXPO-CON/AGG, Shantui expanded its dozer range with the launch of four new models – namely the DH08J, DH10J, DH13K, DH17C and SD32-5, ranging between 80 hp and 320 hp . Among the four models, there are fully hydraulic bulldozers (J series and K series) which feature increased driving comfort, as well as the hydraulic bulldozers, said to achieve greater horsepower output.
Looking ahead, Gao is positive that 2017 will be a better year than 2016. Like many, he is upbeat about the prospects of improved unit sales into the mining industry,
which is signalling some positive growth on the back of rebounding commodity prices. Gao is of the view that most fleet operators have run their existing fleets for longer than expected, especially at the height of challenging economic conditions in 2015 and 2016. He is confident that 2017 will be a much better year with several fleet replacements and fleet extension programmes likely to be on the cards, while many machines have also reached the end of their lifecycles, prompting immediate replacements.
Gao is also upbeat about the South African construction industry, where he sees the smaller construction contracting fraternity getting more work at the expense of larger contracting concerns. We are already starting to see sales of our smaller SD16 and SD20 models picking up as a result, says Gao.