29 Jan

“Spain is the best performing market in 2023”

Interview with Gilles Bendaoud, Vice President Sales, Develon

One of the biggest news in the industry in 2023 was the birth of the Develon brand. The integration of Doosan Infracore by Hyundai Heavy Industries at the beginning of 2021 thus entered a new phase with a new brand, Develon, with which the historic South Korean manufacturer is facing the future of the industry.

In this interview, Gilles Bendaoud, Vice President Sales at Develon, tells us about the transition from Doosan to the new name and takes stock of how this change has been received by the market on the first anniversary of the brand’s birth. He also analyses the present and future of the company, with technological innovation and decarbonisation as fundamental pillars, and talks about a market which, according to his distributor Centrocar, has been particularly positive for Spain in 2023.

Gilles Bendaoud, Vice President of Sales at Develon


It is one year since the birth of the Develon brand, have expectations been met?

Yes, we believe that expectations have been met, as the planned rebranding activities, which were a major challenge, have been completed in 2023.

How do you assess the reception it has received in the market and, in particular, among customers?

Overall, our distributors and customers have welcomed the new brand, Develon. They have perceived it as a more modern name, derived from the words develop and onwards, which represents our willingness to work tirelessly to change the world with smart, innovative solutions. They are also pleased with the fact that there are virtually no changes to our core values, sales network, products and technologies, which remain the same. For example, they see continuity in our products, where the same nomenclature – DX, DL, DA – is still used, with the same distinctive orange colour.

That said, the new brand is also the start of a new era in our company’s history, with a promise to our customers to create added value for them through advanced technologies and innovation. Many of our partners are actively leading this new beginning, so the basic idea of the brand is very welcome. We have also been working hard with our partners to rebrand their facilities and vehicles, and this process is now almost complete in most dealerships across Europe, with just a few minor tweaks to be made.

Where are we in the migration process from Doosan to Develon and what are the next steps in this transition?

The migration from Doosan to Develon happened very quickly and since the brand launch, Develon has expanded its product portfolio from medium and large machines to mini excavators, and we are working to further boost our market position by strengthening our sales network; however, with any new brand, the transition still needs to be nurtured to establish brand recognition and an identity, so brand awareness becomes vitally important to assist in this process. Therefore, Develon continues to actively engage in marketing activities to enhance brand awareness by connecting with customers at different levels and occasions, including product exhibitions at construction equipment shows, sponsorships, advertising and through other promotions.

In addition, we have participated in various activities such as dealer meetings, customer events, exhibitions, media work and more to share the new brand with customers across Europe and reinforce our brand presence. Through these events, we have been able to prove that our brand presence and trust among customers is strong and secure. These activities will continue.

The Develon logo is already on the company’s machines.

Lately we are seeing press releases that talk about HD Hyundai Infracore referring to Develon, do you think this may cause some confusion for Develon customers?

The organisational restructuring may be difficult to understand, but we are trying to ensure clarity, which may take time to digest.HD Hyundai is based on a holding structure in which each company is responsible for independent and accountable management.

HD Hyundai Infracore (HDI) under the Develon brand and HD Hyundai Construction Equipment (HCE) under the Hyundai brand will continue to operate independently under their own brands in the market, but will cooperate under HD Hyundai XiteSolution, the intermediary holding company representing HD Hyundai’s construction equipment business, to build a stronger market presence.

In simple terms, Develon is the brand name used for our machinery, parts, promotions, communications, dealer facilities, etc., and the HDI brand will be used more at the corporate level with official documents and titles.

What is your assessment of 2023 and how did the year end?

In 2023, we have seen the beginning of a turnaround in the market, mainly due to inflation and rising interest rates. Despite the adverse market conditions, we were able to achieve our volume targets. We were also able to increase our market share in Europe. We had significant growth in mini excavators, both in volume and market share.

What are the main milestones you have achieved in the last 12 months?

First and foremost was the successful launch of our new brand, Develon, which can be considered one of the biggest milestones in our history and marked the beginning of an exciting new chapter in our history. Subsequently, our dealer network undertook extensive rebranding of its facilities, vehicles, machinery and promotions, and the DX20ZE mini-excavator, Develon’s first mass-produced electric excavator, was successfully launched and sales are progressing well. Develon also entered the European dozer market with the launch of the new compact DD130 model.

The DX20ZE is Develon’s first mass-produced electric excavator.

The DX20ZE is Develon’s first series-produced electric excavator. ©Luc Hilderson.

Which markets have performed best?

Spain is the industry’s best performing market in 2023, with double-digit growth, while most markets remained stable or declined significantly, such as the UK and Italy.

How was the year in Southern Europe, especially on the Iberian Peninsula with Centrocar?

Centrocar is one of Develon’s oldest and strongest partners in Europe. They achieved the best market in Europe and the number one position in excavators for the Iberian Peninsula in 2022, a tremendous performance. As we are finalising the results surveys in Europe, we expect another strong performance in 2023.

Have equipment delivery times normalised after the last few years of difficulties?

In recent years, and especially during the pandemic, there were shortages of certain raw materials and major supply chain problems that affected all manufacturers in our sector. Now it is more normalised and we are catching up. In general, there are no real supply chain problems anymore.

What is your vision for the future of decarbonisation of industry – will electrification be the way forward or do you think we will see the emergence of other technologies?

Develon is acting to address the global climate crisis by integrating ways to address this issue into our business strategy. Our first objective is to reorganise our current business portfolio and focus on developing hydrogen engines, electrification and other green approaches to lead the next generation of construction equipment. The second objective is to join worldwide efforts to solve the global climate crisis by achieving carbon neutrality in our businesses by 2050.

Our plan is to gradually reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 42% by 2030 and 71% by 2040, compared to 2021 levels. We have also become the first in the entire global construction equipment industry to join the RE100 initiative, which confirms that all energy used at business sites will be generated from renewable energy (solar, wind) by 2040. These efforts have started at our Gunsan plant in Korea and will gradually be extended to other global sites in the future.

Finally, we plan to interact more actively with our customers by publicising our efforts and the processes we have put in place to address climate change. Together with HD Hyundai’s construction equipment business, Develon published the TCFD report on its official website last June. This report will help identify financial risks and opportunities caused by climate change, while aiding decision making by transparently disclosing climate change strategies.


What can we expect from Develon in 2024 and what goals have they set for themselves?

From 2024 onwards, we plan to create a balance between our sales regions and our product portfolio to create a complete line-up that will help us grow to become a major global player. In regions with a weaker presence, we plan to strengthen our dealer network and, at the same time, expand our product range: the new dozer (launched as mentioned above), new MEX models, including our first electric model, and special applications such as demolition and waste handling, to name but a few.We also plan to improve customer satisfaction by supplying products that respond to market demands, such as upgrading excavator and wheel loader options.

In terms of our territory coverage, one of the most important initiatives is our direct investment in our own customer service centre in Germany, which is one of the largest markets in which we are present. This facility is located in Mannheim, where we held a groundbreaking ceremony last September. It will operate as a direct sales centre, which will be the first of its kind for the brand in Europe. The centre, which is scheduled to open in the second half of 2024, will also include a new training and customer service centre, a machine demonstration area and a parts warehouse.

What products or technologies can we expect from the brand in the next twelve months?

The development of electric machines remains one of our key priorities, with a new 2-tonne electric mini excavator recently launched and other compact models planned for this year, and we are also introducing electric battery packs as part of the company’s strategy to expand its business, which is more complex and includes electrification solutions. With these efforts, the company aims to break into a market where demand for environmentally friendly equipment is high.

In addition, we will launch a new Uptime Center in Prague, where our European headquarters are located. The Uptime Center is an indispensable tool designed to provide Develon with a global and visual overview of its critical machine systems and services. The central objective is to optimise machine uptime, ensuring that equipment runs efficiently and effectively.

The Uptime Centre aims to move from a reactive posture, addressing problems as they arise, to a proactive strategy. This will allow us to respond as quickly as possible whenever customers experience equipment failures, minimising machine downtime.


Screenshot of Uptime Center.


This commitment to innovation is key to achieving and maintaining high levels of machine uptime. We also plan to offer preventative measures for machine maintenance, for example through oil sampling, to strengthen equipment management .

Likewise, I would like to mention that in 2024 we will continue working on technological R&D to change our range of construction equipment to electric machines and to transform our medium and large equipment into FCEVs (fuel cell electric vehicles). We are developing a 14 ton electric wheeled excavator, the 14W EREV (Extended Range Electric Vehicle), which will be presented at the Intermat show in Paris in April and will be launched on the market in the near future.

We continue to develop the different technological blocks that are part of the future complete Concept-X solution. We have won two innovation awards that will be presented at CES in Las Vegas in January. Smart Collision Mitigation, which is a system that prevents the risk of accidents on construction sites, and X-Agent. Which is an AI-based machine assistance solution that helps advance machine operation and productivity.

In 2024, it will be three years since the company’s integration into Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings. What is your assessment of Develon and how has the company been strengthened? Is there any remote possibility of a brand merger between Develon and Hyundai CE?

The two brands, Develon and Hyundai, will work together in various business sectors, such as purchasing, R&D, human resources and others, to create synergistic effects for the entire construction equipment business. As the two companies remain under HD Hyundai , will be able to grow to become leading players in the technologies of the future, as there will be more opportunities to investigate various fields such as AI convergence, hydrogen value chains and digital transformation. There is no possibility of a brand merger between Develon and Hyundai CE.

Fuente: interempresas.net