It is going to be a new era in equipment with the coming advent of Tier 4 Interim and then Tier 4 final engines, with equipment modified to accommodate those changes. The full effects have yet to be felt, since many manufacturers are really just beginning to get their T4I units to market. A few engine and equipment manufacturers have already announced some price increases, while others are trying to avoid doing so, but presumably will find other ways to deal with the increased costs that they face.
In case you didn't notice the news – and you can check out our story at http://rermag.com/trends_analysis/headlinenews/komatsu-america-launches-complimentary-maintenance-program-091411/index.html – Komatsu has taken some interesting steps to help ease the transition to Tier 4. The company is offering Komatsu Care a support program that will be standard on all construction size Tier 4 Interim machines, along with two complimentary Komatsu Diesel Particulate Filter exchange units for the first five years, or 9,000 hours, whichever comes first. The KDPF exchange will lower the cost of machine ownership and reduce downtime compared to cleaning the filters.
Komatsu Care and KDPF exchanges are scheduled to occur at a standard maintenance intervals of 4,500 and 9,000 hours. Komatsu Care includes a complimentary maintenance program covering all 500-hour factory-scheduled maintenance intervals on T4I Komatsu construction equipment for the first three years or 2,000 hours, whichever occurs first. The program will cover new T4I equipment whether it is rented, leased or purchased.
Already some customers out there are insisting on T4I machines. Companies with environmental compliance programs and incentives will be requesting T4I machines, as will many industrial facilities and contractors working on government-funded jobs. So while T4I machines may cost a bit more, more opportunities will help make up for additional costs. Whether or not many manufacturers will do what Komatsu is doing remains to be seen, but I wouldn't be surprised to see some similar incentives as the Tier 4 era becomes reality.