Why Develon and Hyundai CE believe compact equipment can take them into top 5 OEMs
By Andy Brown14 April 2023
Develon CEO Seunghyun Oh and product director for Develon in Europe Albert (Seunghyun) Roh on why they believe compact equipment can help Hyundai CE and Develon break into the top 5 OEMs.
It’s a tall order to break into the top 5 construction equipment OEMs.
In fact, it would take sales of around US$11 billion, according to last year’s Yellow Table, International Construction’s ranking of the top manufacturers by revenue.
Nonetheless, that’s the goal of Hyundai Genuine, the holding company of Hyundai Construction Equipment (Hyundai CE) and what used to be Doosan Infracore and is now Develon.
Talking to International Construction at ConExpo 2023, Seunghyun Oh, CEO of Develon and Albert (Seunghyun) Roh, product director for Develon in Europe explain the thinking behind their ambitious targets.
Hyundai Genuine has a balancing act to perform; its Develon and Hyundai CE brands need to look and feel sufficiently different from each other but also make use of shared resources.
One of the ways that the resources of the two companies is being leveraged is though research and development (R&D).
They are working together, where appropriate, to develop new technologies and to save on costs. It is one way that Hyundai Genuine can increase its global sales and push closer to the world’s biggest OEMs.
“We essentially reorganised the R&D engineers, the research engineers, let them move into Hyundai Genuine where they are going to develop a base technology for autonomy and electrification,” explains Roh.
“The two companies are separate but Hyundai Genuine, the holding company, leads on some of the advanced technology and the two sister companies are developing our existing products. We need to differentiate each product for each brand. But internally we are trying to get some synergy, particularly in R&D, procurement, and even in production.”
Targeting the compact market
But the two executives also clearly believe that there are opportunities in markets and product segments that haven’t been attacked aggressively before.
“We are targeting the global top five in the whole construction equipment industry. If I look into our current business performance product-wise, in excavators – such as crawler, wheeled and heavy excavator – we are seeing quite good results,” says Roh.
“However, when it comes to compact equipment, due to the history with Bobcat and Doosan, we haven’t invested as much as we could in the compact business. From now on we are trying to invest more in the compact business to get more volume.
“At the same time, we are also seeking some opportunity in the wheel-based product, such as wheel loader or articulated dump trucks.”
The company has recently added bulldozers to its product line up, something which the dealers are said to be very happy about.
That’s the product side explained – what about different markets?
“We are trying to invest more in the advanced market to become a real global top player,” says Roh.
The CEO, Oh, adds, “We need to invest more in the North American market because the current presence is very low in terms of market share.”
When it comes to R&D the two main areas of focus are electrification and automation. Develon has already produced a two-tonne electric excavator and has plans to produce other models in this range – in our conversation they say that electrification is, “truly a mega trend for the future,” and that the company will, “develop quickly all lines of electric mini excavators.” There are also initial plans to produce a larger electric excavator of up to 20 tonnes.
But the plans for new technology are larger and more ambitious than just autonomy and electrification; the company wants to help the whole of the construction site to be managed more efficiently, to be a solutions provider. XiteCloud, which was first announced in 2020, is now taking its first steps towards commercialisation and is part of the company’s Concept-X.
Concept-X is an integrated unmanned and automated control solution, first demonstrated to the world in 2019.
This has developed into Concept-X2 which combines ICT (Information and Communications Technology) and AI (Artificial Intelligence) technologies at the construction site. There will come a time – perhaps in the near future – where this isn’t a concept anymore.
“At the moment we are willing to develop continuously and upgrade the Concept-X. Now we have a version one and version two; maybe in three years, we can develop more realistic products for Concept- X.
“I am saying not only Concept-X; we will say product X. We will move to some real product not at the concept stage, that’s the plan.”
As well as the development of Concept-X into a something that is commercially available, Oh says that in the next few years the company may develop not just new compact equipment but also even bigger equipment, such as at the top end of the size and weight scale when it comes to excavators and dump trucks.
If the company doesn’t make their global top five ambitions, then it certainly won’t be for lack of effort.
Rebranding to Develon
It was at the Las Vegas show that the Develon brand (formerly Doosan) officially unveiled its new products.
“We had many ideas regarding the new brand name. But we selected Develon; it is the combination of two words: develop and onwards. We will continuously develop a better product for customers and develop better solutions for smart construction,” comments Oh.
Every machine that is produced from ConExpo onwards will be under the Develon name and branding. However, they revealed that for equipment that has been produced in 2023 but before the event the company will, “support some rebranding for the existing machine at the dealers yard” but that the policy differs from country to country.