India by far has the world’s largest backhoe loader market, with over 37,000 machines sold in 2021. At times in the recent past, a greater number of backhoe loaders have been sold in India than the rest of the world combined.
Customers have traditionally favoured machines with an engine of 75 horsepower. Although the introduction of CEV Bharat Stage IV emissions laws for non-road equipment from the first quarter of 2021 has caused a marked change in preferences. The laws also require lower exhaust emissions from the wheeled equipment that can be driven on the public highways, including backhoe loaders.
The lower cut-off for the emissions laws is 37 kW, and this has seen the development of a new range of 49 horsepower machines from all the key suppliers to provide a cheaper alternative to the traditionally powered machines, which are costing more because of the technology required to achieve emissions compliance.
This category of equipment barely existed, but in 2021 it accounted for around a third of the backhoe loader sales in India. However, a new report from Off-Highway Research, the Backhoe Loader Industry in India notes that this shift might be short-lived relatively.
Currently under 50 horsepower, the backhoe loader segment also has a substantial share of total sales, and Off-Highway Research predicts its share to increase further in the short term, primarily because of the lower price.