The skid steer loader is a relatively small, light-to-moderate powered (25 to 120 hp range) earth moving piece of compact construction machinery. It was one of the most highly-sought after machines for construction and agricultural applications until the introduction of compact track loaders. Many OEMs include compact track loaders in their skid steer model lines. We, however, separate the two as does the AEM.
Skid steer loaders are versatile, modestly priced, compared to compact track loaders, extremely maneuverable, and can be equipped with a wide assortment of attachments that allows them to work in many different types of job sites/ applications. Most machines have engines rated below 75 hp so they don’t have to comply with all Tier-4 Final emission standards. This makes them less costly to operate. Extremely small skid steer loaders are also available in a “mini” version that has more limited market appeal and will be discussed briefly later in this report.
The table to the right summarizes the report’s key findings. Throughout much of the 2000s, skid steer loader sales routinely surpassed xx,000 units-a-year. In 2008 industry sales dipped below the xx,000-unit level and has stayed there since then. In fact, North American unit sales have not surpassed xx,500 units (2014) and dipped below xx,000 for the first time in eight years in 2019. Production levels have followed a similar pattern as sales. Production generally exceeds sales given that the largest global OEM skid steer suppliers make the bulk of their offerings in the U.S. and distribute them globally. We estimate that approximately x,300 units were exported in 2019.
The United States has traditionally represented the bulk of North American sales (xx percent in 2019), with the remaining xx percent being made in Canada. Import levels were minimal until Kubota entered the North American skid steer market in 2015. In 2019, we saw imports from: Caterpillar, xx Model 226D units from India; Bobcat, xxx Model S70 units from China and xxx Model S450 units from the Czech Republic;