Another in a series of byte-sized one-on-one visits with construction industry insiders. We talked to Mayr as industry editors received a preview of what Liebherr is showing its dealers this week, including a new ADT slated for introduction in 2015. Mayr assumed the presidency in July and has moved his residency to the U.S., reflecting Liebherr's seriousness about the North American market.
1. What are your plans for Conexpo?
We are hard at work. From the earthmoving side, we will have everything there. We will introduce the new 736 dozer, which is the successor model to the 734; the unique thing on the 736 is that it's the first time we'll have the inside pushing blades, the inside PAT blades, the six-way blade, which we haven't got on the 734. You will see the new type of [material] rehandling machines as well, the LH Series, the Liebherr Handler. They will be there, with the Energy Recovery Cylinder. Our booth will be full of machines.
2. Will you be talking about your Tier 4-Final solution there?
We know what our Final Tier 4 solution is, the factories have seen the first prototypes of the Tier 4 engines now, and they have built the machines around the Tier 4 engine. Our solution may be slightly different than what the market normally expects. We think we have a very good solution, though. It's very straightforward. It's a solution that not everybody will be able to achieve, but as we do our own engines, we can optimize it and we may not need all the different treatment systems as others do. So, we might have a little bit simpler solution for the market because we can optimize the engine.
3. You said you have the highest-priced machines in Europe. You know you can't occupy that position here in the U.S. and you've stated your product positioning here as "affordable quality." Can you expand on what that means?
Affordable quality will mean that we are very certain that our products stand up to the highest quality you can buy in the U.S. [Talking about] the highest quality you can buy in the U.S., you talk about suppliers like John Deere, like Caterpillar. Komatsu also has good products; you then have the middle class, which, let’s call them the “Case-type” machines, and then you have the cheaper-type machines like the Hyundai. So our positioning technically will be at the highest end. We think that our product range can hold up with any other machine in the market, quality-wise, and they are partly even built better. That’s what we think about our product. We respect Caterpillar a lot, and their positioning and their market strengths; I think they have done a fantastic job. We are a European manufacturer. We have no illusion. Even having the highest quality, we need to prove that to the market. To prove it to the market, we need to get the machines into the market. That will be done through rental fleets which we will build up, which the dealers have already built up, and on top of that, the price positioning certainly needs to be under Caterpillar. Where we will position the product exactly depends on the type of product.
The material-handling machine, the scrap-handling machine, will be the highest quality you can buy in the market, and that will be positioned accordingly; you have to pay extra for that machine. On the not-so-known machines, or where we need to bring them in the market, we might need to go through different approaches over the next few years. The endgame might well be, that the price is, let’s call it five percent under Cat. But at the moment, we might need to do other things like warranties, maybe buy-backs, or maybe including servicing, to get the machines out into the field.