Last week I wheeled my rental car into Jackson, Minnesota, home of AGCO’s Rogator and MF and Challenger Tractor assembly in North America. I along with several other machinery writers were there at the invitation of AGCO’s marketing staff. We were told we would get an early preview of the launch of one of the newest products to join the company’s stable.
We just had to promise to keep what we saw a secret until July 2nd. That was the day AGCO’s Fendt brand planned to hold a major international press conference direct from the Marktoberdorf Germany factory where all Fendt tractors are built.
Now that the official announcement has been made, I can let the cat out of the bag, so to speak. AGCO has added the 900 Series of tractors to its Fendt band line up.
The five new front-wheel assist tractors will span the 296 to 415 horsepower range. They are, essentially, lower horsepower versions of the unique 1000 Series the company introduced a few years ago, which now wears both Fendt and Challenger paint. And it uses the same VarioDrive system that operates a lot like the all-wheel drive systems on today’s sports cars. Most importantly, these 900s are built to appeal to the North American row-crop producer.
One comment made by AGCO’s PR rep seemed to stand out to me—and a couple of other writers as well: “It’s the year of Fendt,” she said. Much of the company’s marketing efforts have been focused on that brand.
Fendt is only one of three major brands AGCO offers, and in North America its sales have been well below Massey Ferguson and Challenger, both of which have been the major payers in Canada and the U.S. That could be about to change, at least see the sales gap close by more than a little.
As Peter-Josef Paffin, AGCO vice president and chairman of the managing board AGCO/Fendt, explained through and interpreter, the company intends to make their green brand the one farmers turn to for a higher level of “professionalism”.
The company will promote efficiency and high-tech as the hallmarks of Fendt. Along with that will come an expanded product line and beefed up dealer network across the globe, because that’s the other thing. Fendt has, according to AGCO executives, been stealing global market share. And the company intends to keep that up as it gives Fendt a truly global presence. It was just introduced to Brazil not too long ago.
That brings us back to the new 900 Series. It was designed with the North American market in mind we were told in Jackson. AGCO has squarely targeted the row-crop farmers with these tractors. It has given the 900s everything row-crop farmers said they wanted in a tractor and more.
AGCO will also introduce a Class 10 Fendt Ideal combine, which is also aimed at a global market to further enhance Fendt’s credentials as a major force to be reckoned with.
When Fendt tractors first appeared on these shores, the company hoped diary farmers and others with special needs would see the value in the many features these green tractors offered. Now, the brand has moved beyond a niche market player in North America. With the 1000 Series already on farms and their smaller brothers the new 900s, which are being billed as tractors designed to fit “any operation”, expect to see Fendt tractor sales pick up steam here and give the red and other green brand a run for their money.