The unstoppable rise of the compact tracked loader

Published 24/4, 2023 at 10:59

The compact track loader has come from nowhere to outsell any other compact product in the US due versatility and speed with Yanmar equipment being no exception.

According to Yanmar, the compact track loader (‘CTL’) has leapfrogged skid steer loader (sales of which are 50% down on a decade ago), which has long been popular in the US. The upward trajectory of CTL sales in recent years has been near vertical. “I think it’s particularly popular in the US because it can cover ground and move material so fast; this is a big country with big sites,” says Buck Storlie, Yanmar Compact Equipment (CE) product manager for North America. “The tracks give the edge over skid steers’ wheels, in that they can work more days a year, even in very damp conditions, thanks to the tracks’ much lower ground pressure. With their much greater traction, they are also more stable and have a higher ability to push into a pile.”

Storlie should know, as he has been working at Yanmar CE’s US factory for 27 years, most of that working with compact track loaders. So, who better to help bring Yanmar’s first all new range of CTLs to market – a range debuted successfully at the recent ConExpo-Con/Agg. Due to the show being held for the first since the ill-fated event in 2020 was overwhelmed by Covid-19, there was a lot of pent up excitement about this year’s show, and not just from visitors, but dealers and manufacturers too. “We were expecting a big turnout and weren’t disappointed. The market is at the top of a wave, stimulus money is starting to flow into projects and optimism that this situation might stick around for a while is high.”

The company states that Yanmar CE has transformed itself in the almost decade since the company was last in Vegas, so that today it’s almost unrecognisable, and the changes and improvements go much deeper than the new glossy premium red colour scheme. With ambitions to be a full liner in the compact equipment sphere, Yanmar is filling product gaps in its mini excavator and compact wheel loader line ups. However, the new product that Yanmar is really excited about is the launch of an all-new four model compact track loader range, the company’s first in its current line-up.


Designed with the US in mind

Given the size of the market to aim at, Yanmar is optimistic at the prospect of better fulfilling the North American compact equipment market needs. The new range is a ground-up design, developed after extensive research on customer needs and competitor analysis in close cooperation with Yanmar’s in-house skid steer and CTL experts. The result is a high performing, durable range that is keenly priced; the latter helped by being built in the US, saving on intercontinental shipping costs.

The four model line-up comes with open ROPS and all weather cabs, with cab configured models expected to dominate sales. “Owners want to jump out of their comfortable pickups and into an equally comfortable fully loaded cab in their loader,” says Storlie. The launch of Yanmar’s CTL range is arguably the most important product launch for the company in the US since it introduced the zero tail swing excavator. The four machines range covers a variety of sizes with engines to match. Yanmar believes that together the four machines cover almost all (93%) of the CTL market in North America.


Complete line-up

“This is huge for us; it gets us into the largest compact construction machine segment in the US. But we start in a pretty good position,” believes Storlie. “The buyers of CTLs are often the same as those that buy mini excavators. So, whereas in the past customers might say: ‘Okay, Yanmar fulfils 50% of my needs’, now we can be seen as full liners and supply them with all their compact requirements.” Just like the timing of the last ConExpo-Con/Agg couldn’t have been worse, Yanmar came to this year’s show right on time and full of confidence, with a new brand, what it believes is a great product line up and a strong dealer network. The company further believes that when it comes to Yanmar, red now means go, not stop.

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