A month after ASV and Yanmar finalized their merger, Yanmar rolled out four new compact track loaders at ConExpo, entering a new equipment category for the brand.
With ASV being well-known for CTLs, we wondered how much Yanmar’s new models relied on ASV designs and technology. On this episode of The Dirt, we get the answers.
Buck Storlie, Yanmar and ASV product manager, explains that the new Yanmar CTLs have some significant differences. The Yanmar models are designed more for the construction and utilities industries and the rental market; whereas, ASV’s models have made a name for themselves in the landscaping and forestry sectors.
The biggest change from the ASV machines that customers will notice is the undercarriage on the Yanmar models. But the Yanmar models do borrow some of the design lessons ASV has learned from its decades of producing compact track loaders.
To learn more about Yanmar’s new compact track loaders, how their different from ASV’s and why the brand is entering such a crowded CTL market, check out the latest episode of The Dirt.
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In This Episode:
00:00 - Are Yanmar & ASV CTLs Different?
00:29 - Why Is Yanmar Selling CTLs When It Owns ASV?
01:58 - What Markets Are Each Brand Appealing To?
02:44 - What Are the Differences Between Yanmar & ASV CTLs?
06:10 - How Are Yanmar CTLs Different From Their Competitors?
11:00 - Yanmar’s Late Entry Into the CTL Market
Bryan Furnace (00:00):
Today we're here to talk about yet another new CTL coming to the market. I know it feels like this is a very established market, but we still have new companies coming out with new products in this space. And today we're here to talk about Yanmar and their new CTLs and how they're different from their sister machines, the ASV.
What was Yanmar's reasoning behind bringing yet another CTL to market when you guys have recently acquired ASV? What was the thought process there about getting another machine that's kind of competing to a degree with what you've got currently?
Buck Storlie (00:42):
Well you know, ASV is really a unique brand, 30 years of compact track loader experience. They've got a unique product we've got in that with the Posi-Track undercarriage. We do products like the smallest compact track loader in the industry all the way up to the highest horsepower compact track loader in the industry and the highest flow compact track loader, so really a compact track loader specialist with that wide range and specialized product.
With Yanmar, it's really... From the point of even discussions around the acquisition of ASV, Yanmar... We need a compact track loader, and we need one that plays in that middle range construction, utilities and rental segments that the Yanmar compact equipment plays in. So Yanmar, we want to be.... We view ourselves as a full-line compact equipment provider. And for North America, with compact track loaders being one of or maybe the largest segment in compact equipment, a track loader is a necessary addition. So with ASV we really wanted to lean on that 30 years of compact track loader expertise, but take with that 100-plus years of Yanmar equipment expertise, and combine and make a product that really fits our full compact construction lineup in that construction utilities and rental segment.
Bryan Furnace (01:58):
So it kind of sounds like they're very similar products, obviously, because they're both considered CTLs, but you're really appealing to two separate markets there. Am I understanding that correctly?
Buck Storlie (02:08):
Yeah, absolutely. ASV has always been the very high performance, very premium, and then the Posi-Track undercarriage of course, so really has excelled in the landscape markets, in the forestry markets. Those are areas where ASV has really grown a reputation and has maybe what could be referred to as kind of a cult following in those segments. With Yanmar, clearly we have strength in our construction, utilities, rental segments today with our mini excavators, with our wheel loaders, with our carriers. With a compact track loader, we expect the same and wanted to design the product specifically to enter those markets and to perform its best in those segments.
Bryan Furnace (02:45):
Gotcha. And so if we could kind of at a high level break down some of the things that really differentiate the new Yanmar CTL offering from the ASV product offering.
Buck Storlie (02:55):
I think it's easiest on that one, really, to start from the ground up. The first thing that stands out in a differentiator between the two products is the undercarriage. With the Yanmar CTL, we developed an all-new undercarriage, what we would refer to as a steel embed design, so a traditional steel wheel, steel cable, internal cord track, rubber-coated of course. So that design is unique and new for the Yanmar product, different than what we do on our ASV product. And on our ASV product, we have our Posi-Track under carriage with the all-rubber track and the all-rubber wheel design.
So again, the two different designs really appeal to the market we're most heavily targeting. If you look at the ASV design with, say, all the way up to the four-wheel rubber track and the suspended undercarriage wheels, it really accelerates in that forestry, that extreme terrain, that extreme ground condition type scenario, whereas the steel-embedded choice for the Yanmar really because it excels in the... what I call the construction market, where we're seeing more hard ground underfoot, rockier conditions. Those type of things is more where it excels.
And the other thing it does is really changes even the weight and loads on the machine. With the steel-embedded undercarriage, we see more weight down low, so we get a little bit higher lifting capacities or operating capacities. They'll be a specification or a differentiator you'll see between the two, so again appealing to those markets.
Maybe even going back to the Posi-Track, that undercarriage is known for high speed. We can get over 10 miles an hour out of a lot of our Posi-Track units. So the Yanmar machines and the construction side, the steel embed undercarriage is going a little bit slower and really more targeting that finite grading, controllability, very fine speed, versus high speed needed in applications like forestry or maybe more agricultural, where you're traveling long distances. So again, starting at the bottom, the undercarriage is a differentiator and it comes with specific reasons in the application we're targeting.
Bryan Furnace (04:51):
It does always strike me... So just full disclosure, I don't have a ton of experience with the ASV product, but it has always struck me that that is an application that excels really well when you need really low ground pressure. We do a lot of forestry mulching, and you get into some of these boggy areas, and ASV's got a reputation in the industry. You're not going to beat that ground pressure. But the flip side of that is, because of the undercarriage, it doesn't withstand and hold up to a lot of the abuse that you're going to see on maybe a road crew or somebody doing concrete work, stuff like that. And so I could see where kind of taking the Yanmar product offering with that more rugged undercarriage design and everything, you're going to be competing in a totally different segment than the ASV over here that's kind of more of that specialty product.
Buck Storlie (05:36):
Yeah, I think you're going to see different performance characteristics and different wear characteristics right between the two designs, and they each will have an area where it will excel. It gives great opportunity for Yanmar and ASV to, again, not be competing for business, but to have two different products that accelerate in two different markets and two different buyer types, and it also gives the customer the options to say, "Okay, I like these specific characteristics, but my application, the majority of my time is spent doing X or Y," or, "My price point is X or Y," or all the differentiators. They can weigh those things and choose the product that works best for their need.
Bryan Furnace (06:11):
Well, now let's switch gears. Instead of just comparing internally to the toys that you guys have in your stable, let's compare to some of your competitors. With the new Yanmar offering specifically, what are some things that really set you guys apart from your competition?
Buck Storlie (07:41):
First thing I would focus on there is that it is a suspended undercarriage. So with our new steel-embedded design undercarriage, we put that on torsion axles and fully suspended that from the machine frame as standard, so that can be a differentiator in terms of ride quality, traction. Allowing that undercarriage to actually suspend and flex really helps keep it in contact with the ground when you're in uneven train or even while grading. As that undercarriage can conform, it really can help keep traction, allow you to push more material, move more material, and then allow better reliability for the product. The suspension absorbs shock and vibration that in rigid design is driven into the machine chassis and shaking loose bolts and things like that. So that ride quality, that traction and that durability is certainly a standout feature in our standard, I'll say it again, standard torsion axle. Some manufacturers do option those. We've put them in standard, so that helps a bit with a good price point on a suspended machine.
And then maybe moving up, again, moving up to the top half, I think our operator cabin is really a differentiating product. It's different than anything else you're going to see out there. We did utilize some of the technology we pioneered with ASV, so we've got good test hours behind this technology already, as it exists in some AV products. But that all-clear cab, all-clear sides. You've got clear sides. You've got frameless front door, emergency escape roof hatch, all these features that make that cabin best-in-class visibility and safety are really something that's going to help. And I think a guy's got to go sit in that to really understand it, but the overall creature comforts are very high, both in the visibility, the seating position, the... We put a seven-inch color display in it standard that gives the operator a lot of adjustability and features there. And we're going to give the operator a comfortable day both in terms of suspension and what he sees inside that cabin.
Bryan Furnace (09:34):
That's really nice to see that. One thing that's always stood out to me specifically about Yanmar excavators, the mini excavator line, is they didn't tend to have all of the bells and whistles that a lot of the competitors did, but they were very affordable machines and they were workhorses. They were very reliable machines. I am kind of glad to hear Yanmar putting a little more focus on some of the creature comforts, just because I do feel like when you really stack against the competitors, we're prissy operators. We like our fancy things in the cab. And that's one area that Yanmar just hadn't quite gotten there with. And so I'm really excited to see some of that technology work its way into the cab of your machines. That's awesome.
Buck Storlie (10:09):
And I think you'll see from operators, from consumers, there's really two things that stand out. If I ask you what you want from a loader, whether it be an excavator or a compact track loader, reliability, reliability, reliability. That will always come to the top. Product that you can get in. You can drive it. You can trust it every day. And Yanmar has absolutely been known for that in our mini excavators. We want to drive that same thing in the compact track loader, but we also want to lean on the North American expertise, let's say. Like what a ASV can bring to the table is that North American experience, what the North American operator expects in terms of creature comforts and I want to have a comfortable day. So if we can give you the combination of both, I get in it and it feels like I got into a Cadillac, per se, [inaudible 00:10:52] and I can carry that Yanmar renowned reliability forward. That really is the design target from the get-go.
Bryan Furnace (10:59):
Absolutely. So my final question, we're going to just kind of totally shift gears. You're actually the second company in the last couple of weeks that I've interviewed that is now bringing a new CTL to a pretty well established CTL market. And just for the mental exercise, I'm always curious to ask, being one of the late movers into a market that's pretty well established, do you feel like that has overall been more of a hindrance, or does that lead you guys and give you guys some opportunities that wouldn't otherwise be there had you been one of those first people to market?
Buck Storlie (11:31):
Yeah. Well I mean, realistically we think there's still room. And it also complements... In terms of Yanmar it complements the excavator line, the wheel loader line, and the ability to be a full-line provider. So we want the consumer to know you can trust Yanmar whether you're looking for an excavator or a compact track loader, whatever it is on the compact side. We're able to do it.
And you talk about being late to the market or early to the market. I mean, I'll tell you, ASV was the original pioneer of the compact track loader.
Bryan Furnace (11:58):
Buck Storlie (11:58):
[inaudible 00:11:59] track loader since 1991. Entering with the Yanmar brand in 2023, I think you see both ranges and both ends of it. And I can say from personal experience, sometimes being first, you're judged on technology from 1990. "Oh, I had one and it did X, Y, and Z," right?
Bryan Furnace (12:17):
Buck Storlie (12:17):
That's kind of like saying, "I had a flip phone." Now we build the iPhone. So there is kind of both ends of that spectrum from being early. You pioneer a lot of new technology. A little later you can apply that technology and bring a product to market that's ready to go right out of the gate.
Bryan Furnace (12:33):
Absolutely. And it is kind of an ace up your sleeve that you could say, "Yeah, the Yanmar machine just came to market, but it's based off of this technology that's been around since the '90s. We're one of the first ones in the market." So that is something a lot of people aren't going to think of right off the bat.
Buck Storlie (12:48):
Yeah, the combination of the experience alongside the new technology.
Bryan Furnace (12:52):
Absolutely. Well, Buck, thank you so much for the time and all the information. I'm looking forward to getting some seat time in one of your machines.
Absolutely I hope this has helped you in your business. As always, thanks for watching and we'll catch you on the next episode of The Dirt.