The new plant orders inject confidence back into the industry and mark the first stage in one of the largest investment programmes by the hire sector since the start of the recession.
Hewden chief executive Kevin Parkes’ bold decision to back the construction market will transform the Hewden hire fleet.
His big spend also boosts home-grown manufacturers JCB and Thwaites, which have taken the lion’s share of big orders.
Parkes said: “Hewden is building closer relationships with the leading players in the construction, infrastructure, environmental and industrial market sectors, creating partnerships that deliver a more efficient supply chain.
“We are determined to increase levels of availability so plant and equipment is ready for hire, where and when customers need it.
He added: “This £20m investment is just the first stage in our development plans for 2011 and is a clear sign of our commitment to customer service and achieving growth.”
JCB has taken a £14m order for a range of Loadall telescopic handlers, JCB mini excavators, tracked and wheeled excavators and the new 3CX Eco backhoe loaders.
The other significant supplier to gain a major contract from Hewden is Thwaites, which won orders for more than 125 dumpers.
Hewden Product Director, Andrew Swallow said: “We have selected the very best product in each category, based on the clear preferences of our customers and working with “best in class” suppliers, who support the strategic development of our business.”
This investment is likely to be followed by further initiatives at Hewden in 2011.
Parkes said: “We currently focus on five product platforms, with plant, access, cranes, power generation and accommodation and we will be investing in each of these areas but we are also exploring opportunities to expand our range with complementary products.”
“During 2011 this is likely to include the re-introduction of a specific range of tools for hire, so we can support customers with a full product offer, further improving efficiency and service.”