Escorts rolls out premium tractors

Escorts Ltd brings in speciality 26hp Ferrari tractor from BCS of Italy as a CBU and launches premium 60hp multipurpose tractor under Framtrac brand. Amit Panday reports.

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 01 Mar 2013 Views icon66086 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Faridabad-based farm equipment manufacturer Escorts Ltd has launched two premium tractors for the Indian market – a fully imported 26hp Ferrari tractor for Rs 8 lakh and an in-house-built 60hp premium, multipurpose tractor for Rs 7.4 lakh under the Framtrac brand.

The 26hp tractor (model name: Ferrari K30 RS) is targeted at the growing farming applications at grape vineyards, fruit orchards, poultry and dairy farming, glasshouses and nurseries, micro farming and lawn maintenance. “To begin with, we are supplying these imported tractors to grape farmers in Nashik, Maharashtra. We plan to target select belts in India such as Maharashtra, Bangalore and Punjab,” reveals Nikhil Nanda, joint managing director, Escorts.

The farm equipment maker has entered into a long-term association with BCS SpA, the Italy-based manufacturer of premium Ferrari tractors wherein the small tractors will be imported and sold as completely built units (CBUs). BCS SpA has the intellectual property right to use Ferrari as the brand name for its tractors. However, it has nothing to do with the Ferrari brand of cars owned by Fiat SpA.

Shenu Agarwal, head, marketing, Escorts, says that “we are importing the premium 26hp tractors and will watch the market dynamics and receive feedback. We plan to acclimatise buyers in India with this technology before moving ahead. This is only the beginning as we plan to bring more speciality tractors to India. We will also consider bringing the costs down in the future which may include assembly of operations and increased localisation.”

Harbinger of new tech

Agarwal explains that the Ferrari tractor has brought in a bunch of first-time tractor technologies to India including all four equal-sized wheels, all-time four-wheel-drive system, oscillating chassis system, and front engine mounting for a super-low turning radius. Escorts also plans to import accessories such as sprayers as fitments for these hi-end tractors. Imported sprayers worth Rs 3.5 lakh would be offered along with the Ferrari tractors as an extra cost. He reveals that Esocrts first began testing these imported tractors in Nashik in June 2012.

Talking about the farm equipment industry, S Sridhar, CEO, agri machinery business, Escorts, remarks that “the industry is stagnant currently but the market and requirements are all set to grow. The sector is yet to see recovery which largely depends on the government initiatives. As a responsible company, what we can do is to make a decision, choose a category and bring in effective products for our farmers who clearly deserve more.” The company plans to market the Ferrari tractors through some select existing dealerships with immediate effect. According to Sridhar, the annual market size of all tractors in India currently stands at 525,000 units.

Upgrading Farmtrac

Escorts, which is aiming for the leadership position in the hi-end tractor segment, is working to upgrade its Farmtrac series which comprises 45-65hp tractors. According to Agarwal, the multipurpose 60hp model is its bestselling tractor. This model has been upgraded with some comfort features such as an all-new operator station which includes a digital instrument cluster, suspended clutch and brake pedals, comfortable suspension seating system and some styling features such as LED lamps, snazzy fenders and matt paint finish. The Farmtrac executive series, which includes 45hp and 50hp models besides the 60hp model, will be available for booking this month onwards. In the hi-end tractor segment, John Deere is the direct competitor to Escorts, which currently holds an 11.5 percent market share.

Explaining the market strategy, Agarwal revealed that “going forward Farmtrac will be the mother brand for our hi-end tractor models. Ferrari will be our partner brand. We are aiming to consolidate the premium tractor segment and will focus on the aftersales network to support our customers. We are the first ones to have launched executive tractors, we also equipped our tractors with a four-wheel- drive system, 24-speed gearbox and other first-time features.” Escorts currently sells 65,000 tractors per annum, with equal contributions by the Farmtrac and Powertrac brands. While the Farmtrac brand comprises 45-65hp tractor models, the Powertrac brand covers 25-50hp models.

The Farmtrac bestseller (60hp model) sells nearly 15,000 units per year while the Powertrac bestseller (41hp model) sells 20,000 units every year. The Powertrac brand competes with products from rival companies like Mahindra & Mahindra and TAFE.
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