In compact track loader’s decade of dominance, 2 things have become clear

Marcia Doyle Headshot
Updated Sep 4, 2015
The Cat 259D compact track loader is a recurring machine on EDA’s monthly Top 10 sales lists.The Cat 259D compact track loader is a recurring machine on EDA’s monthly Top 10 sales lists.

Over the past decade, there’s been no bigger machine success story than that of the compact track loader.

The revolutionary CTL, first developed by ASV in 1990, has extended the construction season, giving contractors the ability to tackle almost everything a job can sling at them. And contractors have responded by making it the number one new construction machine financed in the United States.

And when you look at the financed slice of CTL sales during the first half of this year, two things become readily apparent.

One: The South really, really likes these machines.

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 9.15.14 AMTen states saw more than a 60 percent difference between the number of compact track loaders and skid steers financed during the first six months of this year, and they were all south of the Mason-Dixon line, with the exception of Oklahoma. (And whether Oklahoma should be included in the Mason-Dixon grouping depends on your historical viewpoint.)

Note that the behemoth Texas market – top of the heap for all types of financed machines for the past five years – didn’t make this list. Buyers in the state purchased only 39 percent more CTLs than skid steers during the first half of the year. Texas, however, is still number one in terms of CTLs financed through June: 890 units, exactly double that of second-in-line Florida at 445 units.

For the first half of this year, in 19 states CTLs were the top new financed machine type in terms of units sold. That’s ahead of compact excavators (leading in 15 states) and skid steers (top in 11 states).

Two: CTL and skid steer sales have crossed streams.

Looking at the January-June tallies, it’s clear that the trajectories of CTL and skid steer sales have now crossed streams.

In fact, this actually happened in 2013 in terms of financed units. In the first half of this year, 9,731 new CTLs and 6,660 skid steers were financed, which means that CTLs now have nearly 60 percent of the combined financed market between these two machine types.

All of this is not to lay a funeral wreath on CTL’s skid steer cousin. New financed skid steer sales were up 8 percent in the first half of this year, compared to the same period in 2014. And two states in particular vastly prefer skid steers over CTLs: Wisconsin, where financed new skid steer sales were exactly double the number of CTL sales (442 vs. 221); and Colorado, where 61 percent of financed sales between the two machines went to skid steers.