Interview: New markets and new equipment for Hidromek

The two driving forces behind Türkiye-based OEM Hidromek, Ahmet Bozkurt and Engin Barutcuoglu, talk to Andy Brown about new products and markets.

Ahmet Bozkurt, vice chairman and general manager

Hidromek have appeared in the Yellow Table, KHL’s ranking of the world’s 50 biggest OEMs, numerous times, but the company has ambitions to expand even further. During a meeting at their stand at Intermat in Paris, France, Ahmet Bozkurt, vice chairman and general manager, and Engin Barutcuoglu, export manager, tell International Construction that this will be achieved in two ways: new markets and new equipment.

“Compact equipment will be our target,” reveals Mr Bozkurt. “We are going to fulfil the mini excavator range, and we are going to look at compact wheeled loaders also.”

They also mention that access equipment is increasingly popular in Türkiye and that there is customer demand for them to produce some equipment for this segment, so there are early plans to produce a telehandler.

The OEM currently produces backhoe loaders, wheeled and crawler excavators, motorgraders, wheeled loaders and soil compactors. Traditionally, it was known primarily as a backhoe loader company with a large proportion of its sales coming through this one product. However, this has changed as the company has launched new products and increased its production of excavators.

New products on the horizon

“We are very concentrated on our excavator product range and because the backhoe loader, in some markets, it is not the main product. In some European markets there is no backhoe market. But the excavator – everywhere it’s an important product,” says Barutcuoglu.

“So we are improving our product range and also our sales for excavators, which is becoming more and more important for us. I can say it’s even same level now with backhoe loader.”

As one sips from his Turkish coffee (warning: very strong) and the other his Turkish tea (not quite as strong) the discussion turns to future plans and ambitions. There is a pause before Bozkurt says, “We are looking at improving our distribution network. We are not present in North America at the moment, just a very small distribution, like a test. I think, in three years’ time, you are going to see Hidromek US, which will be very important.”

Engin Barutcuoglu, export manager

Warming to the theme, Barutcuoglu adds “In three years’ time I want for us to have completed all the product range that we are talking about, such as with the mini excavators. I believe that we will do it. And also, of course, to be in some very crucial markets like North America and to establish a new organisation there.”

Market strengths

Hidromek’s home market of Türkiye saw strong equipment sales in 2023 and while 2024 is expected to see a slight decline, sales should remain at a high level. Europe is Hidromek’s main market, with Spain one of their strongest countries but France, Italy and Germany are all gaining in importance.

One of the defining themes of Intermat, where we met, was the large number of Chinese OEMs, with increasing numbers of these companies beginning to look seriously at Europe. Are they seeing more China-based OEMs in the markets in which they operate, and how much of a challenge is this?

“Of course they’re important competition,” says Bozkurt, before questioning whether one of the reasons for the increased Chinese presence in Europe is due to the poor Chinese domestic market at the moment. “This is a long-term race. We are present in Türkiye for 46 years. Customers want good service, good customer relations, good machine; all these things are important in this race.”

Barutcuoglu concedes that they are a “threat” but reiterates the point about being in the market for a long time. “The main thing is to be in the market a long time and to continuously serve the customer, not only for one year or two years’ time, but long lasting and continuous actions.”

Another challenge is that of power. The question of exactly how equipment will be powered in the future is one that no one knows the exact answer to, and it is likely that there won’t be one solution, but many, depending on the equipment in question.

The HMK 62 SS mini backhoe loader – backhoe loaders are still important to Hidromek but the product range has increased (Photo: Hidromek)

Bozkurt says that they think the best approach is, “For us to follow what’s going on and to be ready for all different types because nobody knows which way it’ll go. The best way is to be ready, especially engineering-wise, for all alternatives.”

With the OEM also working on autonomous technology that they hope to commercialise in the next few years as well as the new compact products and the targeting of America, it is certainly going to be a busy time. Turkish coffees and teas supply a lot of energy – it sounds like this will be needed as the company pushes forward into new frontiers.


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Ollie Hodges Publisher Tel: +44 (0)1892 786253 E-mail: [email protected]
Lewis Tyler
Lewis Tyler Editor Tel: 44 (0)1892 786285 E-mail: [email protected]