If it feels like you’ve been hearing the Fendt name more than usual lately, you’re probably right. Of the four major brands acquired by AGCO since it was formed, Deutz-Allis (which was discontinued), Massey Ferguson, Challenger, and Fendt, AGCO is beginning to put more of its marketing eggs in the Fendt basket here in North America.
Fendt has long been known as a premium brand in its native Germany, and it has owned a dominant share of the ag tractor market there for a long time. As of late, AGCO is giving that brand more than a fighting chance to dominate the premium tractor market on this side of the Atlantic too. AGCO brought the brand to these shores in 1998, shortly after buying it. But it was initially a slow climb for the marquee to rise from niche-market to broad-market appeal.
The machines offered in the Fendt brand were originally just a select group of tractors with a high spec and limited horsepower range, even though Fendt offers a much wider range in Europe. Today, that has changed. The brand has started a breakout in Canada and the U.S. offering additional Fendt-branded equipment that will appeal to a broader range of producers.
The debut of the unique high-horsepower 1000 Series tractors, which have also been sold wearing Challenger colors, was a big step in appealing to broad-acre grain growers. Last year the introduction of the all-new IDEAL combine wearing Fendt badges pushed that further, and now the new 900 Series tractors aimed at mid-western U.S. row crop farmers as well as other grain growers are coming online.
There has, however, been one more hurdle for AGCO to overcome to really set the Fendt brand on fire in North America: it needs more Fendt-authorized dealers. Management knows that, and there’s been a lot of progress on changing that this year. There are now 189 Fendt dealers in North America.
That has meant nearly doubling the number of Fendt dealers in the last 12 months, which saw the network grow by a surprising 98 locations. There are now dealerships in 37 of the 54 U.S. states and Canadian provinces that are considered large ag markets.
“The Fendt dealership expansion is a clear sign of our continued commitment not only to growth in North America, but to an expanded group of customers who, when they learn why Fendt has such a dedicated fan base, will also want to be Fendt owners,” says Bob Crain, senior vice president and general manager, Americas, AGCO. “Our existing Fendt dealers are excited about the new products that meet the needs of North American farmers and our new Fendt dealers look forward to bringing their customers into the Fendt family.”
Outside of North America, AGCO has all but abandoned the Challenger brand name, but not its equipment. Instead, the Challenger MT700 and MT800 line of tracked tractors are being marketed as Fendt-brand machines. That may not happen here anytime soon, but the Fendt line is set to expand, nevertheless. The company says it is working toward giving Fendt a full line of branded equipment.
As part of that, in February 2020, the “revolutionary” Fendt MOMENTUM planter is expected to join the product line. It’s a global planter platform, which the company claims is “designed from the ground up for producers across the globe.” It has already debuted in Brazil, and it’s currently undergoing field trials in North America.