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I have been having difficulty getting answers to my press/media questions regarding Makita’s new 40V Max XGT cordless power tool lineup.
I sent some questions, copied below, to the two Makita USA product managers who presented on XGT, as well as to Makita’s marketing communications manager. It has been 3 weeks, and Makita USA has not provided any answers or insights so far. I figure that if I post my questions here, maybe that’ll help to move things along.
I know my emails can be a bit wordy, but was I not polite enough?
To put it frankly, I don’t understand Makita’s approach or goals with XGT, and was hoping they could untangle some threads.
XGT is Makita’s higher-power cordless tool solution – that much is clear – intended to compete against other brands’ heavier duty offerings. But, Makita also suggests this new cordless system will target everyday users, such as woodworkers and cabinet installers, claiming the lineup will meet users’ total cordless needs. They say they’ll continue expanding the LXT system alongside XGT, but then why are all the cool new tools and features seemingly exclusive to the XGT platform?
All of these claims can be true independently, but put them together and they conflict with each other.
I was hoping to better understand what Makita is going for with XGT, and for better cohesion between the very different claims Makita is making. For instance, there’s a new Makita XGT cordless brad nailer available overseas, and there doesn’t appear to be an 18V version. Other 40V Max XGT tools are also getting features that aren’t available in the 18V LXT lineup.
XGT can be both a higher-powered cordless system and an everyday handheld cordless tool system, but then where does Makita’s 18V LXT system fit in here? They say that the LXT system will exist alongside the XGT system, but where is the line between the two systems? Will there be two separate one battery platform solutions? No other cordless power tool brand does this.
If XGT is said to be a one battery platform solution for users’ cordless jobsite needs, what can we expect? For instance if a woodworker or cabinet installer buys into XGT, will there be cordless sander and router solutions, or will such users need to maintain multiple battery platforms, contradicting Makita’s marketing claims?
With XGT, I’m hoping for clearer insights into the brand’s approach and intent. However, there’s also the possibility that the problem isn’t with my understanding, but that their marketing claims are utterly disjointed. Everything will become more apparent over the next few years, but clarity is needed now.
Here’s what I asked:
Makita XGT Cordless Power Tool System Questions
Thank you for the March presentation on XGT, it was very informative. Would you be open to discussing more about how XGT fits into the competitive landscape?
Specifically, I am having difficulty sorting out the areas where LXT and XGT overlap and [potentially] compete against each other with respect to handheld power tools.
In the presentation, you emphasized that XGT will be one battery platform that completes users’ total cordless jobsite needs, with handheld tools such as an impact driver, circular saw, drill, or “whatever that might be.”
Some of the new handheld tools, such as the hew hammer drill, overlap into 18V LXT territory, but offer the “latest design and tech” that Makita has in mind for the XGT platform.
Will the XGT platform be limited to these core handheld power tools? I am aware that the XGT line will also have jobsite radios, flashlights, and a fan.
If Makita is to maintain 18V LXT and 40V Max XGT as separate “One System” platforms, with 18V aimed at the users who don’t need higher power offerings, where do those XGT handheld tools fit in?
With the new hammer drill, the anti-kickback tech is a safety feature, and the electronic clutch is described as a way to target new trades such as “woodworkers and cabinet installers,” and not just the needs of heavy residential construction users.
In other words, XGT seems to provide compelling advantages for handheld power tool users, and not just those interested in the higher power 80V Max solutions.
Where will the lines be drawn in both systems? Will XGT stop here, or will it offer additional tools found in the 18V LXT system, such as cordless ratchets and oscillating multi-tools?
You said that there are limitations that prevent Makita from developing a higher powered battery that could be paired on a 15 year old 18V LXT tool. Are some of the same limitations responsible for why the new 18V LXT hammer drill lacks the advanced features found in the XGT model?
As the XGT platform grows, will the new platform essentially compete against the LXT platform with respect to users looking for a one-system solution to fit their handheld cordless power tool needs?
I am having trouble seeing how LXT and XGT can become separate “One System” solutions. Consider the woodworker that wants a cordless sander, but also a heavier duty drill with anti-kickback tech. Which Makita cordless platform will be that user’s “one system” solution?
How can XGT grow and provide a “complete cordless jobsite” without cannibalizing and competing against the 18V LXT system?
I am also curious as to why a one-way adapter wouldn’t be possible. HPT’s MultiVolt battery can fit their 36V tools and 18V tools, and Dewalt FlexVolt batteries can fit their 60V Max and 20V Max tools. I would think users would be extremely eager to see an XGT to LXT adapter so that they could get the best of both systems without having to maintain two completely different sets of batteries. I know there must be good reasons, whether this was by design or LXT tool-related limitations.
Makita XGT Drill/Driver Questions
I hope you don’t mind, but I am eager to learn more about Makita’s new XGT cordless drill technologies.
In the video presentation, you discussed how the new electronic digital clutch and anti-kickback tech “allows Makita to now target other trades such as woodworking and cabinet installers.”
To me, this seems to create appeal for the XGT system and its handheld power tools that’s separate from the higher-powered 80V Max options, especially for users solely interested in handheld everyday-use types of tools.
Will these features, and others like them, also be found in the 18V LXT offerings? The 18V XPH14, for example, was recently launched with identical torque specs, but it does not have the same anti-kickback feature as the XGT model.
I am hoping to understand why the similarly-powered 18V tool was not designed with the same features. Is this due to a limitation of the battery interface, or is it simply a way to differentiate 18V LXT from 40V Max XGT products?
I understand that this might not be something you are able to answer. Any answer you provide would be considered unfit for quoting unless you specify otherwise.
Could you also describe the electronic digital clutch? In testing other brands’ products, I have found electronic clutches to be less precise compared to traditional mechanical clutch designs. Is this inherent to all electronic clutches, or has Makita found a way to ensure repeatability that matches that of mechanical clutches (at the least)?
Additionally, I understand that there are 41 clutch settings for one of the speed modes. Does changing the clutch setting require individual presses of the button? What is the experience for users who want to adjust from say level 2 to level 40?