India overtook the UK in 2007 as JCB’s single largest market, the company revealed earlier this month as it reported its results. JCB sold more than 17,000 machines in India, up from 10,800 in 2006.
Together with growing markets in Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Russia and South America, this helped it sell more than 72,000 machines during the year - which saw the company increase its overall year-on-year sales by 30 per cent.
The firm’s share of the world construction equipment market rose to 12 per cent, up from 10.4 per cent in 2006. Its turnover increased to £2.25 billion from £1.75 billion the previous year.
The company said there were concerns that the sector will be affected by the credit crunch and the downturn in North America, where the market fell by 13 per cent during 2007.
It said: “European economies are expected to come under pressure as the combined impact of slowing exports to the US and tighter, higher cost credit takes effect.”
But despite the nervousness around 2008, JCB group chief operating officer Matthew Taylor said the company would continue to invest in new products and facilities.
He said: “North America continues to be weak and we don’t see any improvements this year, which will put pressure on European economies.
“But infrastructure developments seem to be strong in most markets and growth in emerging markets will continue.
“Overall, we hope to be able to grow the business in 2008 by investing in new products, new facilities and in the ongoing strengthening of the JCB network and team around the world.”
JCB recently unveiled 21 new products, including tracked excavators, mini excavators, telescopic handlers and skid steer loaders, at the Conexpo construction equipment show in Las Vegas, USA, to bring its total machine line-up to 290.
The company is investing £30 million to double capacity at the backhoe loader production facility near Delhi and that is due for completion later this year.
Tracked and wheeled excavator production in the UK is also set to significantly expand following a £40 million investment in a heavy products factory.
And the company is about to open a £7 million JCB attachments factory in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire.