I judge a company by how well they respond to my needs and not how far the dealer is from my base. The reason trucks have wheels is so they can deliver and respond when necessary, and any Caterpillar dealership I have ever used nation wide will respond to those needs better than a dealer right next door. For things such as filters, I just call in an order and they ship to our door and since we place our equipment on pretty agressive PM programs, we stock the stuff that needs to be changed frequently....
As far as off brand equipment, new brand equipment, equipment that is an old company but new in that type of market, they all promise the sun and moon. When it comes time to service you when you are down, they consider tomorrow as acceptable, while Caterpillar considers an hour away the norm.
They completely understand that down time means lost money and respect the fact that it is easy to take money upon sale, and alot harder to service you after that sale. No one can compete with Caterpillars service record. And that is all that matters. My yellow iron keeps digging dirt, and bills keep going out, and we contiunally break previous year margins. That is what has kept me going to Caterpillar for 30 plus years, 85 years if you include my uncles company.