Gehl vs. Caterpillar equals the battle of the century for construction equipment technology, right? Wrong! Gehl and Caterpillar somehow both manage to be industry leaders in construction equipment. Yet, these two companies also barely register on each other's radar.
It's no un-common sight to see Gehl and Cat working together harmoniously on many a job site. So why is this? Why can these two parties have nothing to fear from each other? This is un-common in almost every other industry.
The answer is a lot more simple then you'd think. Gehl and Caterpillar aren't really competitors at all. For the most part, they produce entirely different equipment. Any yellow vehicle with the word “CAT” printed on it, was in all likelihood designed for heavy duty application. Gehl, on the other hand, is more focused on compact, versatile equipment.
If you need a bull-dozer, or a gigantic indescribable behemoth mining robot-monster-thing on tank treads… Caterpillar is the best and usually only choice. The equipment they produce is almost universally for specific, high intensity application.
What happens when you just need to put a pool into your back yard though? This is where Gehl really shines. Caterpillar equipment would be excessive, to say the least. Gehl is highly focused on compact design, and ease of use. Though it is in no way recommended, even untrained operators can figure out a Gehl excavator very quickly.
What Cat lacks in ease of use, they make up for in raw power. Gehl simply does not make the type of 'steam shovel' you want for your pit mine. (and they don't make bulldozers at all) It's simple really: there just isn't much demand for massive, house sized mining trucks. These two companies would most likely suffocate each other if they tried to compete.
Gehl really excels at support equipment, largely because of the versatility of their equipment's function. Virtually every piece of equipment they offer comes with a wide array of attachments from farming to forklifts. Where caterpillar would be too cumbersome, and even expensive, Gehl swoops in. Consumers can also find a huge assortment of Gehl parts online making them easy to repair in-house.
The opposite applies for CAT. They design and build all of the highly specialized equipment that Gehl simply doesn't produce. They may both be painted bright yellow, but the similarities between these two companies end there.
This symbiosis serves both companies equally well. The demand for construction equipment will always be very limited. There is no point in trying to build a better bulldozer when you are at capacity selling front-end loaders.
On the flip side, why waste time and resources making small-scale equipment when you are tied up producing much more specialized large scale vehicles? It just wouldn't be efficient, even if there wasn't already an industry leader doing it.
When it comes to industries as specialized as construction equipment, no one has anything to gain from stepping on each other's toes. There is a reason why everybody knows the brands Gehl, and Caterpillar. It is the same reason nobody knows the name of the companies competing with them. By focusing what they are good at, and avoiding direct competition, they both benefit. At the end of the day, this is much better for the customer.
It's not a tough decision of who makes the better bulldozer, but whether your job requires one.