Mike Anderson’s American Iron
A “New” Way To Look At Things
When you’re talking about construction equipment, “new” is a simple enough tag to designate. Or is it?
Sure enough, that piece of shiny equipment just shipped from the factory, now sitting pretty on the lush front lawn of a dealership, is new. And, better yet for those of us who try to follow what’s truly new in the market, there’s no doubt about the “new” tag if the manufacturer happened to have introduced that model in the past, what, six months. Or should that be 12 months? Or 24? Or 36?
And therein lies the dilemma for marketers of construction equipment.
One of the industry’s true stalwart brands, Bobcat – a brand so historic and renowned that it is often used to describe a universal equipment type and not simply a make – is understandably putting a lot of effort into drawing attention to its “new M-Series loaders.” Indeed, it was only last June that, dodging snowflakes (it was North Dakota after all), Better Roads editorial director Marcia Gruver was observed hopping into a S630 skid steer loader at the M-Series launch. That was the better part of year ago now, but Marcia’s cool ride then is still undoubtedly a new machine now, especially considering that the M-Series product family is still easing into the market. But will the S630 be “new” a year from now? How about the brother S650 that followed a few months later?
These questions really come to the fore during the show season. A “new” product may be exactly that, for that particular show, but it’s also quite possible the same piece was “new” at another industry event, be it last month or even last year. Since not all shows are annual, there is a prime opportunity to maneuver for crafty OEM marketers and their likewise shrewd hired guns at the PR agencies: “Get the art department, pronto! We need nice, big, bright, ‘New’ signage for this display. Yes, the same display we had in Phoenix eight months ago . . . and in Paris two years ago.”
Like most people who have attended equipment trade shows over the past couple of years, we here at Better Roads have been seduced by the John Deere 764 HSD, the quad-tracked high-speed dozer that, two years after the last CONEXPO-CON/AGG, still attracts a flock at any show it’s at. Methinks one of the most intriguing earthmovers ever unveiled will be “new” until it is actually in full production and showing up on jobsites. Only when we see it working here, and there, and over there, may the “new” tag start to slip off. That may yet be years away.
It reminds me of the excited radio deejay I heard recently, who breathlessly explained to his not-so-spry listenership that a new Jimi Hendrix track had just crossed his desk. “A new what?” I asked my car dashboard. Apparently, I had not mistaken what I had heard, because the sound that answered me back was, indeed, new . . . well sort of. v
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