Hyundai Construction Equipment, formerly Hyundai Heavy Industries, is the construction division of Hyundai Corporation. Formed in 1985, it manufactures and supports its products through 500 local distributors in 140 countries. The division has 9 global operation centres based in the United States, Europe, India, Indonesia, Brazil and China.

Interview with Dr. Hubertus Muenster, Director of Sales & Marketing at Hyundai Construction Equipment Europe.

Easy Engineering: A brief description of the company and its activities.

Hubertus Muenster: Hyundai Construction Equipment Europe – Regional Headquarters

Located along the E313 highway in Tessenderlo is home to our European headquarters. This 81,000 square-meters corporate office. The European headquarters houses administrative, finance, IT, product management, sales and marketing functions for Europe. The company also occupies a 12,000 square-meter warehouse and a European training center called Hyundai Academy of 2,600 square-meters.

E.E: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

H.M: Hyundai Construction Equipment is part of the Hyundai Heavy Industries Group, a “Global Leader” in the heavy industries sector. 

Hyundai Heavy Industries was established in 1972 with the founding philosophy of creative wisdom, positive thinking, and unwavering drive. It completed construction of the world’s largest shipyard and two VLCCs all at the same time in 1974 and has ranked World’s No. 1 shipbuilder since 1983. The company became the integrated heavy industry company by expanding its business to offshore & engineering and engine & machinery with the accumulated experience and cutting-edge technology through shipbuilding business.

Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), founded by the late Chung Ju-yung on March 23, 1972 wrote the first chapter of its shipbuilding history in June, 1974 by completing construction of the world’s largest shipyard and two 260,000-DWT VLCCs all at the same time. A decade after its first delivery, the Hyundai Shipyard topped 10 million deadweight tons in aggregate ship production, and has maintained the leading position in the world shipbuilding market ever since. Hyundai Shipyard’s drive has mirrored the growth of modern Korean heavy industry, and our success has allowed us to expand into other heavy industry areas, ultimately leading to the formation of Hyundai Heavy Industries, an integrated heavy industry company.

The Construction Equipment Division within Hyundai Heavy Industries is widely recognized as an industry leader for its use of advanced ergonomics, engineering, and technology. Backed by highly advanced factors automation, a zero-tolerance quality control inspection system, and innovative engineering, the division offers a wide range of construction equipment to satisfy our customers’ needs.

The division started production in 1985, and now manufactures construction equipment including hydraulic excavators, wheel loader, skid-steer loaders as well as industrial vehicles. The division markets and supports its products through 500 local distributors in 140 countries. The division also maintains nine global operation centers in the United States, Europe, India, Indonesia, Brazil and China (Jiangsu, Shandong, Beijing).

E.E: What’s the news about new products?

H.M: In 2022 HCEE launched further A-Series models:

Crawler Excavators:

  • HX130A CR (compact radius)
  • HX140A
  • HX145AL CR
  • HX160A
  • HX180A

Dr Hubertus Muenster, Director of Sales & Marketing at Hyundai Construction Equipment Europe.

Articulated Dump Trucks:

  • HA30A
  • HA45A

Wheeled Excavators:

  • HW150A CR
  • HW170A CR
  • Wheel Loaders
  • HL955AHD

At Bauma 2022 in October in Munich, we presented our new A-Series of design award-winning mini excavators. This newly developed series consisting of 10 new machines will be introduced to the European market over the course of 2023.

In 2023 we will also add further wheeled excavator products to our line up.

NEW service product: Hyundai used machine warranty:

Hyundai used machine warranty protects you from sudden and unforeseen breakdowns of your machine outside of the Hyundai factory warranty period. It’s a flexible solution, tailored to your needs and providing peace of mind. The Product Coverage periods available on all used Hyundai Construction equipment up to 2 years and up to 2000 warranty hours from purchase date of second-hand machine. Two defined levels of coverage (Power & Plus) and a variety of time and hour options available to choose from.

E.E: What are the ranges of products?

H.M: For Europe:

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

H.M: The market experienced an unexpected boom after the 2019/2020 Covid pandemic while demand hit a record, supply struggled due to capacity constraints in component supply, production and shipping.

As from 2023 on, a moderate decline is expected in the European CE markets mainly due to energy price hikes, higher interest rates, geopolitical instabilities and the resulting effects on investment mood. 

For Eastern Europe my assumptions, that EUR funds on one side, and the negative effects of the RUS invasion into UKR, will result in a slight decline of the CE industry in the coming 2-3 years.

Overall the markets are currently at a turning point in their cyclical development paths, but the expectation is that they will still be healthy seeing their long-term history

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

H.M: Bauma in OCT 2022 in Munich was the perfect window for understanding market trends.

The major trends for Europe are environmental sustainability and digitalization of construction processes and machines.

Shortage of skilled labor. That’s why also operator comfort is becoming even more important than before.  Operators need to be attracted and kept satisfied. They have a major influence nowadays on purchase decision making.

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?

H.M: Digital solutions, like remote controlled machines and fully digitally connected machine.

Digital services, like cloud-based data management solutions that hold, maintain and process all data related to construction projects, as single source for data.

Next to that, machines with high fuel efficiency or machine that are even independent from fossil fuels, like electrified machines.

Hyundai Construction Equipment showcased two innovative concept machines at Bauma:

  • an electrically powered 1.9 to mini excavator that can operate one working day before recharging. This machine will come to the market in approx.1 year from now;
  • a world exclusive: Our 15 tonne hydrogen fuel wheeled excavator thar emits nothing but water and can work 8 hrs autonomously before being refuelled with hydrogen. The machine is planned to be commercialised in 2-3 years.

On top we opened our interactive Future Zone to the visitors, which showcased all elements of the Hyundai Connect Experience – a suite of tools designed to boost uptime, increase productivity and drive safety for the construction sites of tomorrow.

E.E: What estimations do you have for the rest of 2022?

H.M: We will close the year with a record in sales at Hyundai Construction Equipment Europe, for the second consecutive year

The market looks more resilient to the economic issues than expected. 2022 was a challenging year for our customers, our dealers and ourselves, due to the supply constraints and the volatile economic circumstances.

For the rest of the year, we continue preparing our 2023 business, since nowadays as an OEM you need to plan at least 9 months ahead due to lead times and high level of backorders.