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Mega dealers bring mega problems

With 25 years experience in the agricultural equipment business, I am convinced that the industry is in trouble and the major players either do not realize it or do not feel there is a problem. Today, ag equipment manufacturers are being run by a bunch of college-educated idiots who are nothing more than numbers crunchers. Gone is the familiarity with the basis on which the industry grew and prospered. The entire focus, now, is “market share,” and if a dealer is not getting what the company considers to be his share, then he needs to either sell out or buy out his neighbor. Having a few mega-dealers with a scattering of sub-stores is the new rage. This is the way that market share figures will rise, or so it is thought. While it is true that the customer base is shrinking and the Internet has made price shopping very easy, there is still a place for a locally owned dealer who takes excellent care of his customers.

It is very interesting that the mega-dealer concept is so widely touted for it is no better than the old company-owned stores. Mention the phrase “company store” to any of the majors and they will cringe at the idea since company stores, historically, were not a good experience. The primary problems were that they never made a decent profit, they were a thorn in the side of independent dealers, and customer satisfaction was never high on the priority list. Now the same problems that plagued company-owned stores are going to start plaguing these mega-dealers and their sub-stores. Add to that that when one of the “biggies” goes South, there is a huge hole left where “market share” no longer exists.

Two major companies have just lost 18 dealers, and now there are large holes in areas that used to have an excellent dealer organization. Wouldn't it be interesting to see what “market share” is in those areas 12 months from now? While market share is an important aspect of business, it is not the only engine driving the train. A solid, parts-and-service-minded local dealer can still survive even if he doesn't get 50% of the market.

It is possible for car dealers and Wal-Marts to become super centers. But due to the size, type and complexity of modern farm machinery, super centers will only cause super problems for the customers, the owners and the parent company.
Warren Mayhew Aledo, IL

Out of business

I need oil seals for a Duplex Pump Jack, model 55, made by Duplex Manufacturing Company.
Calvin Schemper Prairie View, KS

Unfortunately, Duplex Manufacturing Company is out of business, and we cannot find another company offering parts.

Massey Ferguson parts

I have a model 185 Massey Ferguson 3-pt. backhoe. I need information as to where parts may be purchased.
Marcus Tobias Greenview, IL

AGCO will help you locate Massey Ferguson parts. Contact the company's product support line at 800/767-3221 or 800/992-2406.

Weigh-bar scale

I have a United Farm Tools forage dump wagon and would like to put a scale on it. I am having trouble finding a company that makes a weigh-bar scale that can be installed on the wagon.
David Thuemmel Port Austin, MI

United Farm Tools was sold to W&A Manufacturing Company. You may reach the company at 1810 S. Ohio St., Pine Bluff, AR 71601, 870/534-7400.

How to reach us

Write to us at; Farm Industry News, 7900 International Dr., Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN 55425; or (click on e-mail). We assume all letters to be for publication. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

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