There’s a new niche in the combination equipment category (small wheel loaders, mini excavators, etc) and they are cleverly placed in the 74 horsepower or below rental operations. This makes them appropriate for customers who do not want to deal with after-treatment hardware and DEF. To add, they are also perfect for users who do not want to pay for after-treatment.
Dustin Adams, Caterpillar’s backhoe loader product specialist explained the following customers. There are customers that utilise primarily the backhoe versus the loader feature on backhoe loaders. Roading and loading applications can be slightly impacted by the reduced horsepower. Then there are the customers that want to avoid use of DEF,” Adams says.
“Larger fleet owners may not be as concerned, as a result of having dedicated service trucks and personnel to maintain their fleets in addition to having a high turnover rate in equipment,” he says. “Smaller fleet owners and owner operators may want to avoid additional services or processes to manage. In addition, they will tend to keep equipment longer, thus having less experience with new Tier 4-Final technologies.”
Per John Deere’s Brian Hennings, the smaller fleet owners are not the only ones who appreciate basic backhoe units because some fleet owners find lower-spec models as well as the basic ones more appropriate since they can fit heir needs. For this reason, they usually accept the trade-off between lower acquisition price instead of their more equipped and “higher speced” counterparts.
Rafael Nunez, JCB’s backhoe loader product manager mentioned the following regarding the mentioned developments: “For JCB, rental equipment dealers are the largest segment of customers purchasing backhoes with 74-horsepower engines. They mainly purchase these types of units because they don’t have to worry about the hassles associated with DPFs and aftertreatment requirements. They don’t have to educate customers about the unique needs associated with higher-horsepower diesel engines—or worry that customers might not remember to follow required maintenance.”