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Being Number 1
Being the number one in any industry is almost as much of a curse as a blessing. After all, you can only ever go downwards, and there will always be another competitor snapping at your heels.
So with Vestas finding itself relegated to the number two position in the turbine manufacturing stakes, should it be concerned?
Firstly, it has found itself usurped by GE, a global behemoth with an industrial and financial strength of a diversified firm.
And secondly, as with most rankings of any industry, it’s the movers in the lower orders that are much more interesting and tell a bigger story than a change in the top three.
In this particular ranking from BTM Consult - which, it should be noted, is still preliminary and yet to be published in full - Siemens rising up the scale from 9th to 3rd tells a bigger story.
Some may speculate that Siemens is just a bit too wedded to DONG for its order book. Irrespective, it’s providing a range of solutions that readily fit the market from 3.0MW to a new 6.0MW offshore machine, and a whole lot more in between.
This, coupled with the backing of a global business makes the German manufacturer a much more significant competitor.
But back to Vestas. Some seem to be postulating that this is start of a larger malaise for the turbine maker, particularly off the back of a consecutive annual loss.
But businesses in tough times can show enormous reserves of innovation to deal with their predicaments.
The biggest challenge for the firm will be weathering the storm of the next couple of years. There’s a fair likelihood of consolidation amongst the Chinese manufacturers, in the same way the country's domestic solar panel makers went, as the Chinese market slows.
Once this level of competition has been minimised, Vestas can concentrate on keeping up to speed with Siemens and GE and perhaps Gamesa.
The vagaries of the global wind market will continue to provide a number of challenges for all the manufacturers in the coming years. We’re sure to see some further switches amongst the top three.