Heavy hitters in heavy equipment—the world’s largest equipment makers

Industry Insights Comment

Line up of loader backhoes making their way across the ramp

Caterpillar, Hitachi, Komatsu. We see these common brand names on equipment used all around the world every day. But the massive, multi-national, multi-billion dollar success stories these names represent are anything but common, and International Construction magazine's annual Yellow Table – now in its tenth year – shows how these companies stack up against each other in a highly competitive market.

So how successful are these construction equipment makers? Reflecting a still sluggish global economy, the 2013 Yellow Table revealed that sales of new construction equipment by the world's 50 largest manufacturers increased by just 2.6% in 2012, up to a record high of US$182 billion—beating the previous record of US$168 billion, set in 2008 (prior to the global financial crisis).1 Two-thirds of that business is done by the top 10 manufacturers.2

“While there was some growth in the market last year, things were relatively subdued,” International Construction editor Chris Sleight said in a video preview of the 2013 Yellow Table. “The key factor that depressed growth last year was the weak market in China.”2

Ironically, although the top positions are still held by industry titans like Caterpillar and Komatsu, Chinese companies like Sany and Zoomlion continue to grow as major players in the heavy equipment market, with Sany edging into the top five in 2013. According to KHL: “In 2003, the first year the yellow table was published, China's manufacturers had a share of just 1.6%, worth just US$841 million. Today their 16% share is worth US$30.6 billion.”1

Here’s a look at the world’s top five equipment manufacturers from the recently published 2013 Yellow Table.3

1. Caterpillar (U.S.) – 2012 rank: #1

Caterpillar, the 85 year old U.S.-based company, enjoys a commanding 21.8% of global construction equipment sales revenue and has held the #1 spot on the Yellow Table since it was first published. In 2012, Caterpillar reported revenues of US$16.445 billion.4

2. Komatsu (Japan) – 2012 rank: #2

In business since 1917, Japan-based Komatsu reported net sales of ¥1.982 trillion in 2012 (approx. US$24,168 million).5  Komatsu makes the largest bulldozer in the world, the D575 Super Dozer (read our blog post about the D575 dozer).

3. Hitachi (Japan) – 2012 rank: #4

The global construction equipment giant Hitachi started out as a humble electric motor repair shop in 1910.6 In 2012, the world’s third largest construction equipment manufacturer reported a 6% increase in net sales, up to ¥817,143 million (approx. US$8.2 billion).7

4. Volvo (Sweden) – 2012 rank: #3

Volvo CE (Construction Equipment), which is just one part of the massive Volvo Group, is the world's largest manufacturer of articulated haulers and wheel loaders.8 In 2012, Volvo CE reported sales of SEK 63,558 million (approx. US$9.9 billion at current exchange rates) selling more than 78,000 machines.9

5. SANY (China) – 2012 rank: #6

The comparatively youthful SANY Group, which only got its start in 1989, now employs 50,000 people in more than 150 countries. In 2011, they reported sales revenues of 80.2 billion RMB.10 (approx. US$12.9 billion at current exchange rates) Sany bumped crane giant Liebherr from the top five, into 7th position.

If you’re looking for heavy equipment, you can search our auction inventory by brand, equipment type, and industry.

To find out what used equipment is selling for, create your free account on our website and access two years of Ritchie Bros. auction results.


1 http://www.khl.com/magazines/international-construction/detail/item72286
2 http://www.khl.com/videozone/item84217/
3 http://www.khl.com/magazines/construction-europe/detail/item84192/VIDEO:The-2013-Yellow-Table
4 http://www.caterpillar.com/cda/files/2530632/7/Caterpillar%20facts%20sheet_3Q2012_with%20governmental%20affairs.pdf
5 http://www.komatsu.com/CompanyInfo/profile/outline/
6 http://hitachiconstruction.com/history.html
7 http://www.hitachi-c-m.com/global/ir/individual/financial.html
8 http://www.volvoce.com/constructionequipment/corporate/en-gb/AboutUs/quick_facts/Pages/quick_facts.aspx
9 http://www.volvoce.com/constructionequipment/corporate/en-gb/_layouts/CWP.Internet.VolvoCom/NewsItem.aspx?News.ItemId=138520&News.Language=en-gb
10 http://www.sanygroup.com/group/en-us/about/group.htm


Leave a Comment
Sign In or create an account to leave a comment.

1 comment

zmie on July 30, 2013 said
so good
manufacturer china chain become more and more important

Find Equipment & Trucks

We sell thousands of items each month at unreserved public auctions around the world. Search trucks, trailersfarm equipment or our current inventory to find the item you need.

Find Out What Your Equipment Is Worth

Create a free account and access 2 years of equipment selling prices.

Join us at these Events

May 17-18, 2019 Dawson City International Gold Show - Booth #21 - Dawson City, YT
May 24-25, 2019 ​Canadian North Resources - Booth #315 - Prince George, BC
May 29 - June 1, 2019 Florida City County Manager Association - Booth #416 - Orlando, FL
June 17-20, 2019 Government Fleet Expo - Booth #711 - New Orleans, LA

Connect with Us