Dr. Hubertus Münster, Sales & Marketing Director at HCEE, analyses market development in 2021 and gives an indication of the anticipated dynamics of the construction equipment business in 2022.
2021 was a year full of challenges for the Group. The continued strong order intake has pushed HCEE further ahead. There were no supply bottlenecks until late summer, so delivery of Stage V-compliant A-Series wheeled excavators, long awaited by the market, was slightly delayed. Even so, the result for the year in Europe will be significantly higher than in 2020, and well above the original expectations for 2021. This is because the recovery in many regions of Europe has been faster and more robust than anticipated. The UK performed extremely well due to the relatively early success of the British vaccination campaign, final clarity in respect of Brexit and favorable exchange rate movements. The Italian market also recorded very strong growth compared with the previous year.
In our view, the markets in Germany, Austria and Switzerland developed slightly positively, which is due to the fact that the slumps in the previous year were far more moderate than in markets such as the UK and Italy, for example, which are now experiencing a boom. The dealer network in Germany, Austria and Switzerland is currently unchanged. We are currently aware of a great deal of confidence among our sales partners with regard to the future development of our presence on the German market.
The new federal government has announced massive investment in housing and infrastructure construction, and interest rates appear set to remain at investment-stimulating levels. In this regard, we are currently seeing no indications that the currently positive market momentum will weaken in the near future. HCEE is anticipating additional impetus from Bauma.
Now that almost the entire construction equipment range has been converted to Stage V engines and numerous electronic features have been introduced, we will be concentrating on further increasing brand acceptance in the coming months by implementing numerous projects. These measures include the establishment of a Europe-wide key account business and realignment of our online communications, for instance. We are specifically addressing the needs of our European customers with products such as the brand new HW170A-CR (CR = Compact Radius) short-tail wheeled excavator.