The industry has weathered a range of crises since the last CONEXPO-CON/AGG. While uncertainties remain, there is a lot to be optimistic about, says Tate Johnson, President of Yanmar Compact Equipment North America.The last CONEXPO was marked by Covid-19, with the world literally shutting its borders as the week-long show progressed. In the intervening three years we have endured the pandemic, supply chain shocks, war in Europe, and more recently, inflation and monetary tightening. We have also ‘enjoyed’, if that’s the right word, an extraordinary boom in demand for construction equipment. While this has created its own challenges, in terms of production stress and waits for deliveries, this is a nice problem to complain about.
Confident about the future
While the economy may cool some sectors in 2023 – including possibly residential construction – there remains enough pent-up demand that this may come as an industry-needed pause. All in all, there are more positive drivers in the US economy than negative ones. Dealers’ and rental firms’ stock levels have been depleted, and these channels need to be replenished. In any event, thanks to its lower prices, compact equipment tends to be hit less hard than more expensive general purpose equipment whenever there are investment uncertainties. Because of these factors we are sufficiently confident about the future to keep our foot firmly on the gas.
We also have the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the money for which hasn’t hit the street in earnest yet. The many billions of dollars of investment this is pumping into the industry will begin breaking ground in the coming months. Compact equipment will enjoy its share of this, particularly in highway work and installing fiber to promote broadband access across the US. Given all this, we believe that 2023 will be another good year for the construction equipment market.
Proudly Japanese: Proudly American
At Yanmar CE North America we are proud of our Japanese legacy and heritage of innovation – providing quality and reliability for over 100 years. We are also proud of our ASV history of innovation, resilience and durability, with deep roots as a proud American company. The combination of the Yanmar product line, capabilities and expertise with our legacy-ASV compact tracked loader knowledge, operational footprint, supply base and support infrastructure positions us to service the lion’s share of the US compact equipment market. With a new ‘Premium Red’ branding for our Yanmar products, plus a soon-to-be announced new product line, we are looking forward to promoting our new status at CONEXPO. The introduction of our latest product line will mean a better experience for dealers and customers and a full-solutions focus on compact equipment customer needs.
North America is among the largest markets for construction equipment – it represents roughly half of the total global market. With the Chinese CE market currently in the doldrums, we know there are challenger brands targeting the NA CE market. As such, Yanmar aims to offer the right blend of products, distribution and support to endear the market to our ownership experience. With shipping costs still exorbitantly expensive, our 40 years of operational, design and supply expertise positions us well to manufacture more of our product range in the US in the future. It’s good for the US economy, good for customers in North America (via shorter lead times and lower shipping costs), and good business for us. Our target is to manufacture 70% of our range for North America in North America. We currently employ nearly 300 people in the US and have ambitious growth plans. The positive reputation of Japanese design, quality and manufacturing coupled with US innovation and manufacturing capability is a compelling combination. It is enabling us to serve the North American market as well or better than entrenched providers and newcomers to the market.
Building with You
Our theme at CONEXPO is ‘Building With You’, and this goes right to the heart of what our business is all about. It’s a commitment to customer success and collaboration, and underlines our evolving position as a global leader in the compact equipment marketplace. There’s everything to play for in North America in 2023.
With the world on the brink of lockdown, the last CONEXPO’s timing couldn’t have been worse. But now, with opportunities abounding and Yanmar better able to capitalize on them, this year’s show comes at the perfect moment.