Buhler Industries has resurrected the Versatile tractor brand as a stand-alone business unit, and reintroduced the "Flying V" logo to its full line of 4WD and Front-Wheel-Assist tractors.
The move came at a dealers meeting in Winnipeg, Manitoba, home of Versatile for 40 years, and is the work of company officials working under the new leadership of Russia's Rostselmash, an 80% owner of Buhler Industries since November 2007.
Reclaiming the globally-popular name of Versatile, a trade mark for simple, reliable tractors, Buhler also dropped the "Genesis" line of machines it had inherited from the New Holland era. In its place, the company introduced the new V250 and V280 front-wheel-assist tractors, bearing their horsepower ratings as models. The enumeration system applies throughout the Versatile lineup.
Adam Reid, Versatile Marketing Manager, said the return to the Versatile name and logo made sense since the dealer organization handling Versatile branded tractors had always viewed themselves as selling Versatile tractors (regardless of who the current owner of the brand was), and farmers worldwide recognize the Versatile brand as a piece of equipment that is rugged, reliable and affordable.
Reid says the new Russian ownership has committed to putting the Versatile brand at the forefront and backing it up with a renewed commitment to 24-hour parts availability throughout North America, a new dealer financing program through AgriCredit, a new Winnipeg-based Technical Manual and Customer Service department and the creation of a North American parts manager position to oversee the distribution of repair parts and service.
The move also completes an agreement with Cummins engines to power all of Versatile's line of tractors with the addition of QSC 8.3L Tier III engines in the V250 and V280 tractors which feature 250 and 280 horsepower, respectively, and boast 24-valve breathing technology, a high-pressure common rail fuel delivery system and up to 5-pulse computer-controlled injection cycles to meet emission compliance. In addition the new power plants also feature strengthened lower block skirts, computer controlled warm-up and load management, along with a turbocharger delivering after-cooled air to the intake for increased power and lugging capacity. The new engines, capable of 830 pounds feet , and 1,000 pounds feet of torque, respectively, show a fuel consumption graph that's nearly flat from 1500 RPM to 2200 RPM, and a power bulge that covers most of the operating range of rated horsepower.
In addition, the new models feature easy-to-access filters, batteries, cooling system and AC condensers, ergonomic cabs and easy-to-reach controls at the fingertips of operators.
Options include up to three hydraulic pumps rated at 50 gallons per minute and up.
The pricing for base models of the V250 and V280 are $165,000 and $172,000, respectively. The new tractors will be available for spring delivery.
Eric Allison, Director of Sales told ag media members at a pre-launch meeting the Russian firm's influence has added a touch of "professionalism" the firm hasn't had before. For instance, he noted until 2007 the company had no technical manual function, no parts or service manager, and now the firm has all of those things in place, as well as a new financing program for dealers.
"We've been a great manufacturer of machinery," Allison noted, but "We're playing in the majors now, and we have to act like it. We can do that now with our young, aggressive Russian owners," he added.
In addition to the new engines and tractors, the company is also unveiling a new warranty program that covers tractors sold after November 1 with a three-year, 3000 hour warranty.
Buhler industries will continue with its own line of Farm King, Allied and inland family of products.