According to last year’s survey by Off-Highway Research, the wheeled loader market is expected to grow by 12% from now until 2018. In keeping up with the times, it is paramount that manufacturers offer potential consumers exactly what they want.

The question is, “What does an earthmoving machinery operator look for when shopping for a new loader?”

Years ago operators were likely to consider features like load capacity, speed, maximum number of operating hours and the price, of course. Today, all these factors still play their part in the decision-making process, but are, at the same time, only marginally important compared to other aspects including fuel consumption, after-sales services and TCO (Total Cost of Ownership).

Fuel economy

The human impact continuously alters and changes the environment we live in. In an effort to make a positive difference, several earthmoving machinery manufacturers have actually taken important steps. Over the years, we’ve seen the adoption of best practices for the lower consumption in almost every aspect of daily life, both professionally and personally.

It’s forthcoming that energy-intensive industries, such as construction and quarrying begin paying attention to the environmental impact of both their activities and equipment.

As a matter-of-fact, due to increased environmental awareness, manufacturers have designed their state-of-the-art loaders to actually reduce emissions - and consequently pollution – increasing, at the same time productivity. In other words, newer vehicles can go further with one liter of fuel than previous models did.

Extensive services

After-sales service is becoming more and more important, as it is a major influencer when it comes to the final decision. Thinking about the manufacturer-user relationship, this cannot actually end after the initial sale. Nowadays, manufacturers tend to offer a wide range of services in their sales packages including routine maintenance service, supply of spare parts at competitive prices and on-site assistance in the event of malfunction or damage.

TCO: Total Cost of Ownership

Interestingly, more and more consumers are taking into account the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) when it comes to purchasing a new loader. They estimate the total value of the investment and all the costs associated with the entire life cycle of the vehicle - purchase, fuel, maintenance, insurance, repairs – and not only the initial price tag.

Some vehicle manufacturers have gone as far as customizing a calculator for their customers in order to help them assess the TCO of the loader they have in mind. Just by entering the purchasing price, expected years of use, operating hours, estimated service fees, emissions and fuel consumption data into the system, the customer, in turn, receives the estimated TCO for that vehicle. Super useful, right?

Other than these latest features, there are more traditional aspects to consider: durability, productivity, load capacity, fuel tank size - think of the valuable time operators lose when refilling the tank - cabin and driving comfort are also essential elements. And let’s not forget about the technological aspects! Cutting-edge loaders are equipped with smart self-diagnostic monitoring systems that tell you when it is time for maintenance checks (i.e. oil changes, tire checks etc.).

What do you think? Do you consider these variables when researching new products? When shopping for a new vehicle to add to your fleet, what are your priorities?

We want to hear your ideas!