This report examines in detail the market for skid-steer and compact tracked loaders in Europe.
This report is a new study by Off-Highway Research which replaces a number of previous country-specific Equipment Analyses. This change in approach reflects the fact that both types of machine enjoy mixed appeal from country to country in Europe and that this crucial aspect of the market would be best-reflected in a regionwide study. However, care has been taken to preserve the detail and nuance previously available in our national reports.
The skid-steer loader is a small, compact four-wheel drive machine, which originated in the USA, and is designed to operate in restricted areas. It is distinguished by its steering system; the machine’s movement being controlled by varying the speed and direction of the two sets of wheels on each side independently. The loading is by a bucket lifted by two arms (or occasionally one) which are pivoted from the rear of the machine to reduce the space required.
Compact tracked loaders comprise a very similar upper structure and front-end linkage. The key difference is that they are equipped with a rubber track undercarriage, rather than tyres.
Both types of equipment are classified according to their carrying capacity, or payload. In the case of skid-steer loaders, this is 50 per cent of the minimum load which, when placed in the bucket, will cause the machine to tip forward at maximum reach; in the case of compact tracked machines, the measurement is 35 per cent. This is measured according to a formula of the American SAE and is expressed in Europe in kilograms.
These are highly versatile machines, complete with a quick attach system and a wide array of compatible attachments. Initially, their popularity in certain markets derived from their employment as the workhorse of many compact equipment markets; they were essentially a basic work tool. For example, the machines were used – in particular, skid-steer loaders – by thousands of small jobbing Italian companies working on repair, demolition, landscaping, and other maintenance and restoration projects. However, even in the markets in which they were most popular, such as Italy, this prominence reduced in recent years as a clear preference developed for mini excavators.
Subsequently, a move away from their use as a utility machine towards a more central role in specific work settings – asphalt planing and trenching in particular – has seen a resurgence in popularity, albeit at the cost of a much different market structure as will be detailed later in the report. This has also opened the door for the growing popularity – again, in certain markets only – of compact tracked loaders which have exploited the increased demand from applications requiring high stability and traction.
The findings presented in this report are based on Off-Highway Research’s
International Database, and on information collected during an extensive interview
programme which included the continent’s leading manufacturers, importers and
European Equipment Analysis: Compact Tracked and Skid-Steer Loaders
- Product Code:
EU Equipment Analysis