“What you’re going to see is a new era for Kubota,” says Todd Stucke, Kubota vice president, agriculture and turf division. “Our core has always been small tractors, and we will continue that focus. But in order to grow we need to pursue other market segments and each ones comes with different needs.”
Part of the new plan is the launch of 92 new products for 2015, which are designed for three new customer segments. Those segments are turf, agriculture, and construction equipment.
“The homeowner market is completely different from agriculture, turf, and construction segments,” says Stucke prior to opening the show room doors. “We need to reach them through new products and services designed just for them.”
Products launched for the ag segment include the company’s first mid-range tractor series called the M7 series, its first skid steer loader, and second-generation of commercial hay tools including its first big round baler.
“Each one of these products has a unique feature that we want to show you in the field tomorrow,” Stucke says.
Other new products launched at the meeting included mowers, hays tools, excavators, wheel loaders and compact tractors.
Kubota generated $14.6 billion in revenue worldwide for fiscal year 2013/14. Its goal is to reach $20 billion over the next few years by developing these new business segments, including full-scale entry into the agriculture market.
“We want to make Kubota a household name,” says Masato Yoshikawa, president and CEO, Kubota Tractor Corporation. Yoshikawa, along with executives from the global parent company Kubota Corporation from Osaka, Japan attended the this year’s national dealer meeting that attracted nearly 4,000 dealers in the U.S. and Canada.
Part of the company’s growth plan is to invest in product support, parts, dealership development, information technology and training. With the new direction comes a new marketing campaign, called “We are Kubota,” and a sponsorship with Grammy award-winning singer Alan Jackson, who happens to own a Kubota tractor.
The new M7 series tractors are Kubota’s first entry in the mid-range tractor market, typically defined as tractors rated 150 hp and up. The M7 series includes three models that range from 130 to 170 hp.
The new tractors are built from the ground up, with an axle configuration and weight designed for the commercial haying market. The tractors are able to pull haying equipment, planters, light tillage equipment and other implements on the farm.
Kubota is calling this new series its “initial entry” in the row-crop market, implying there are bigger tractors to come that would fit commercial row-crop customers. “We are just scratching the surface,” says Steve Barcuch, Kubota product marketing director for ag. “We don’t want to do too much too soon. We need to do it right by ensuring the proper infrastructure to support the tractors.”
Barcuch says the M7 series is not a bigger version of their current M-series tractors, but rather a whole new tractor built from the ground up. It has a bigger frame, new transmission, finely-tuned engine, and, for the first time in Kubota’s lineup, a precision farming management system. The system features autoguidance and a universal touchscreen display made by Kverneland Mechatronics that controls all tractor and implement functions.
Kverneland, which Kubota purchased a few years ago, brought with it this line of precision farming equipment as well as farm implements used for haying and tillage.
Other first-time product categories for the company this year include big round balers for the commercial hay market and skid steer loaders for the ag and construction markets.
“Kubota has marketed excavators and compact track loaders for a while now, but we knew there was still a hole in the market,” says Kubota’s Paul Manger, construction division.
Manger says the new skid steer loaders will give the company a full product line in construction equipment and also will serve the agriculture segment, which Manger says makes up over half of the skid steer market. He says the company will lead these markets with its warranty and financing package.
Despite the news about its new business markets, Kubota execs emphasized that compact tractors will continue to be the company’s core product.
Says Kubota’s Barcuch, “We won’t forget who brought us to the dance.”
The new M7 series tractors will be made in France. Production starts in late Q2 of 2015.
For more information contact Kubota Tractor Corporation at 877/582-6826 or visit www.kubota.com.
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