Chandigarh-based Swaraj Tractors, a division of the Mahindra Group, today introduced a completely new product, as well as showcased new engine and transmission platforms for future high-power tractors from the company.
The new Swaraj 963FE, an offering in the 60-75hp tractor segment will sit atop the company's portfolio of products in the farm equipment space, which includes other tractor models between 15hp to 60hp power range, like the 834XM, 735FE, 744FE, 844FE and the 960FE.
The 963FE has been indigenously designed and developed by the company's R&D centre in Mohali, functioning with a team of around 100 engineers. The 2WD version has been introduced at a price of Rs 740,000 ex-showroom, Mohali, and will become immediately available in Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Chattisgarh, before being gradually rolled out across the country by end-CY2018 in a phased manner. The 4WD variant will be introduced over the course of next three to four months.
SE4 engine series to power future products
The new high-torque SE4 engine series from Swaraj will spawn a host of products in the future, all aimed at delivering low operating engine speeds and better cooling efficiencies for prolonged usage. The naturally aspirated diesel motor deploys fuel-injection and exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) technologies to churn out a maximum of 228Nm of torque at 2,100rpm. The engine also boasts a long service interval of 400 hours.
The new transmission system uses a synchromesh 12-forward and 2-reverse gears configuration with high, medium and low gears. It also offers 540 and 540E (economy) multi-speed PTO options to support multiple farming applications, along with offering better fuel economy. The tractor is suited for a wide range of applications starting from land preparation to post harvesting and is claimed to be compatible with rotary tillers, MB plough, TMCH, potato planter, dozers, balers and banana mulchers.
Being the priciest offering from the company, the Swaraj 963FE features an adjustable driver's seat with thicker cushioning, ergonomically designed workstation with suspended pedals, and also gets a mobile phone charger along with a water bottle holder for the operator.
Rising with Mahindra
Swaraj Tractors, which started in 1974 with governmental support, got associated with Mahindra in 2007, and became a fully operational division within Mahindra & Mahindra's (M&M) farm equipment function in 2009. The company today directly employs close to 5,000 associates at its manufacturing facility located in Mohali, the industrial town near Chandigarh, in Punjab.
The plant, situated near the Basma village in Mohali houses a foundry shop and a machine shop alongside the main assembly line, and sees close to 70 percent of the vehicle parts being procured from around 250 vendors situated in the adjoining region within a 150km radius of the facility. As an initiative towards bringing equal opportunities, the company also deploys 80 women associates at the shopfloor. The facility has also been awarded the highly coveted Deming Prize in the tractor segment in 2012.
According to Dr Pawan Goenka, executive director, M&M, “Swaraj Tractors has been one of the most successful acquisitions for the Mahindra Group. Where it had barely sold less than 30,000 tractors in a year before coming under Mahindra’s umbrella in February 2007, the company is set to close FY2018 with cumulative sales expected to touch 110,000 units by March end. It today holds the highest market share in the country, second only to Mahindra-branded tractors themselves.”
Speaking at the launch, Rajesh Jejurikar, president, Farm Equipment Division, M&M, “Brand loyalty is one of the biggest strengths of Swaraj Tractors with re-purchase rate among the Swaraj customers being very high. Also, in the retail channel, over 100 dealers have continued to be with Swaraj for over 25 years and we have a network of 875 dealers across the country today.”
“Swaraj has evolved into being a national brand, with over 65 percent of the sales coming from outside of the northern region. 70 percent of employees come from farming background and understand customer requirements and are able to co-create the products according to customer needs,” Jejurikar added.
The company is eyeing farmers with large land holdings with the new product and aims to grow its market share from the currently pegged 8-9 percent in the 60hp segment to over 11-12 percent by the end of first year of the launch of 963FE, combining the 60hp and over 60hp space.
ADAS in tractors in CY2018
M&M is focusing on leveraging technology in the farm equipment space, and while the company is working on developing fully autonomous systems for relatively simpler application in the farming sector, “That, however, will largely rely on policies and regulations coming from the government's end. It is still some time away, at least the next two years, before we see such technologies being implemented in tractors,” Jejurikar said.
“Having said that, we will be bringing in Phase-I driver assistance technologies into the Mahindra-branded farm equipment products later this year,” he added.
On the other hand, the company does envision the level of farm mechanisation scaling up in the country and technology bringing in a lot of benefits, enhancing both crop yield as well as a farmer's life over the next three to five years.