Construction World

Construction World recently spoke to SDLG marketing communications manager for sales region EMEA, Magnus Rieger, and regional manager – export region, for Babcock International, Grant Sheppard – about the SDLG range of construction equipment distributed and maintained in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique by Babcock International,

SDLG is the number one brand of wheeled loaders in China, and SDLG products are now available on six continents and in over 38 countries with production increasing yearly and new markets opening up as technology develops.

SDLG building a brand1Regional manager – export region, Grant Sheppard for Babcock’s equipment business (left) and SDLG marketing communications manager for sales region EMEA, Magnus Rieger.

Volvo Construction Equipment acquired SLDG in 2006. Babcock, which distributes and delivers an aftermarket support capability to various OEMs (including Volvo), was awarded the dealership for SDLG in 2011, explains Sheppard.

Building a new brand

“Since being appointed as the regional distributor for SDLG, Babcock, who handles the sales and aftermarket support, has been building the SDLG brand in southern Africa,” says Rieger, who was in South Africa visiting customer sites where SDLG machines are being put through their paces.

“All of the sites we visited have made repeat purchases which attest to SDLG’s quality and the service support by Babcock meeting customer requirements and standards. SDLG’s pay-off line, ‘Reliability in Action’ summarises just that.” Rieger says “We supply robust products, based on well-proven technology, with excellent aftermarket support.”

SDLG building a brand2The latest on offer from SDLG is the new F-series wheeled loader.

Strategic partner

“The SDLG product is a good complement to the products that are produced by Volvo. We can broaden the scope of the products we offer when it comes to different customers. In that sense it is strategic,” says Rieger.

“Most premium brands (vehicles or equipment) have developed value brands to enter a market segment which they have not occupied before. The ‘strategic partnership’ is to find avenues to increase turnover in a growing market. By doing that, they strengthen their presence in the market as a group,” Sheppard elaborates.

Chinese brands in Africa

Sheppard says that African countries outside southern African are susceptible to sub-standard Chinese products. “There are contractors who use inferior equipment from China and if they break, they die there. This is largely due to the spec variances sold to them compared to what we sell and support.”

Selling across border

It is interesting to note that the majority of machines that SDLG sells across the South African border, are sold to South African-based companies. “The majority of blue chip companies buy and register the machine here and export it themselves. This gives them the right to bring it back into the country again. Exporting a unit that is bought in a neighbouring country requires costly red tape.” says Sheppard.

When machines are bought in South Africa and transported to a destination, SDLG has six branches throughout the southern African region (outside South Africa) to maintain and support these machines. Sheppard explains that repairs can range from a Vehicle off Road (VOR) breakdown that can be fixed on site to more serious breakdowns where the vehicle will either be repaired on site (if the job site has the facilities for this) or at the workshop of the country branch.

Marketing the brand

“Babcock’s ability to support SDLG goes a long way,” says Sheppard. “Customers buy the machine for maximum uptime. When a machine breaks down, it is about how quickly you can repair the product. Our back-up is our strength.”

He also maintains that Babcock has embraced the brand. “We have had the Volvo brand in our favour for 17 years – so the success we have had in supporting the Volvo brand stands us in good stead. Sales-wise we do not keep the brands separate any more, in essence we are the same company – supplying two different segments: premium and value brands. Sales people identify what brand to sell based on the application.

Repeat business

Sheppard says that up until 2015, some 95% of SDLG sales were to new customers. This number has decreased as SDLG now gets repeat business. “This value brand unit has opened up a whole different sphere for Babcock. A customer may start out with an SDLG and grow into a Volvo as their business grows or applications change.”

Wheeled loader L958F

The most recent release from SDLG is the new F-series wheeled loader. It offers high performance and reliability, backed by a world-class support network.
The L958F comes with a modern design and many improvements, With its 3,2 m³ bucket, this loader is engineered for high productivity and will give you an excellent return on investment. All SDLG wheeled loaders are rigorously tested to ensure reliability in action.

• The design of the L958F ensures that service and maintenance is easily handled, with excellent accessibility throughout the machine.
• The single joystick guarantees precise, easy and comfortable operation of the loader arm and bucket, reducing operator fatigue.
• High breakout force, a rated load of 5 400 kg and a new 3,2 m³ bucket design for improved efficiency and productivity. A wide range of available attachments ensures the machine’s versatility.
• A powerful and efficient 6 cylinder engine matched to a new SDLG transmission delivers maximum torque from the engine to the wheels.
• Larger cab with 20% more glazing for improved visibility, safety and efficiency. Superior air conditioning for greater operator comfort.
• Optimised maintenance intervals now offer even better machine availability. The superb SDLG dealer network is there to support all your maintenance and repair needs.



Contact Construction World

Title: Editor
Name: Wilhelm du Plessis
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108

Title: Advertising Manager
Name: Erna Oosthuizen
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108

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