A panel of executives from the India-based Mahindra brand held a press conference to speak to journalists at Agritechnica Last November. They were there to introduce three new tractor series, the 6000, 7000 and 9000, which push the maximum available horsepower up to 120. They give the brand a solid presence in the utility tractor segment for the first time. And these machines are heading directly to the North American market.
“So far we’ve been in the less than 100 horsepower segment in North America,” said Rajesh Jejurikar, president of Mahindra’s Farm Equipment Sector. “We’ve done very well there over the years and are now ranked number three (in sales). We felt now it’s a logical extension for us to go beyond the 80 horsepower, which is where we were until now, to move up to 120 horsepower.”
The three new series fit in at the top end of Mahindra’s product offering. In all, they add 11 separate models to the brand’s stable. And Jejurikar thinks the addition of more power will make the brand even more appealing to the same customer group it already focuses on: small acreage owners and hobby farmers.
“That’s a logical extension because it’s the same target group we cater to today,” he continued. “Our core target group is hobby farmers in North America. They’re for the small holders or those who are into hay or other related industries. With that in view, we’ve added three new series.”
Under their hoods, the new tractors will get a version of the newly-designed common-rail, turbocharged 3.5 litre (the 6000 gets a 2.6 litre) diesel, called the mCRD, which the company claims is the product of a recent $30 million investment in engineering and development. In fact all the engineering for the new models was done in-house, according to Jejurikar.
The engines are fully Tier IV compliant, using an advanced SCR system with a diesel oxidization catalyst to scrub the exhaust clean. That means it doesn’t use a particulate filter.
Power flows through a synchromesh powershuttle transmission, with 12 X 12 or 32 X 32 gear options available in the 9000 models and a 15 X 15 in the two smaller series.
With a factory loader, the 9000 models can lift up to 4.1 metres (13.5 feet), and they get a load capacity rating at maximum lift of just under 2.5 tonnes (5,500 pounds).
“We think it’s a pretty advanced technology offering with large lift capacity,” Jejurikar said of the overall design of the new tractors.
All the new models stick with an open-centre hydraulic pump design that puts out 79.7 l/min. in the 9000 Series, 61.2 in the 7000 and 42 in the 6000.
There is also a focus on comfort with these tractors. Cab options offer doors on both sides and a variety of creature comforts inside.
The new tractors actually made their North American debut at a dealer convention in the U.S. a month before Agritechnica.
“We just displayed at a very large national dealership meeting in October,” Jejurikar said. “We’ve now started taking dealer orders and making dispatches (delivering) already.”
So are these new, more powerful tractors a sign that the brand is looking to make inroads into the mainstream agricultural sector?
“No. Not yet,” said Jejurikar. “Because with 120 horsepower you’re very far from the mainstream agricultural sector. So not yet, at least.”
Did you notice the “not yet?”
More about the brand: Who is Mahindra?
The name of Mahindra brand tractors may be one that many Prairie producers have heard, but can’t quite remember when or where. There are some dealers in the region, but so far they seem to have a relatively small market share. And they have only been a player in the compact and sub-compact utility tractor market — until now.
Mahindra values itself as a US$19 billion company headquartered in India. And it claims to be the world’s largest tractor seller (by volume). It originally started out building B Series International Harvester tractors for distribution in that part of the world
in 1963, and it carried on building them long after IH discontinued the line. In 1977 it eventually formed its own tractor division with independent design, manufacturing and marketing.
In 1994 Mahindra established a U.S. subsidiary to accommodate sales into North America. Since then the brand has aggressively acquired or established partnerships with other equipment brands, such as Erkunt, a tractor builder in Turkey and Sampo Rosenlew of Finland, which builds combines. It is also a partner with Japan’s Mitsubishi Agricultural Machinery.
And fans of classic automobiles may be surprised to learn it acquired Pininfarina the storied design firm behind many classic racing and sports cars. It also has divisions in a variety of manufacturing sectors including automobiles and aerospace.