The market for agricultural machines – like the market for agricultural products – is worldwide today. Across the globe, thousands of companies sell more than $70 billion worth of equipment a year, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. The U.S. is the largest single buyer of agricultural equipment, but our share of the market is less than half – 32.7 billion. That means that the rest of the world combined buys more tractors, combines, tillers and planters than we do. The U.S. share of the worldwide market outside our borders is only $9.8 billion – out of $37.3 billion.
Foreign competition is heavy and diverse, and it’s especially intense in Europe and Asia. Some of the foreign builders who have distribution channels in the U.S. include Kubota and Mahindra.
Kubota started business in the last decade of the 19th century. It’s now a diversified company with agricultural equipment as only one of its products. Others include construction equipment, vending machines, pipes, valves, pumps and air conditioning units. All together, it had revenues of $12.6 billion in 2008.
It began manufacturing tractors in the 1960s, and claimed to be the fifth largest producer in the world by the 80s.
In 1969, Kubota started exporting its 21 HP L200 compact tractors to the U.S. they were successful, so they opened an American branch in 1972. In 1988, they opened their first manufacturing facility in the U.S. at Gainesville, Georgia. That site built front end loaders and backhoe implements for Kubota tractors. A larger facility was built in 2006, also in Georgia, to assemble tractors shipped from Japan.
Kubota’s trademark color is orange, and the current line offered in the U.S. runs from the BX Series (18 to 25.5 HP), the TLB Series (21 to 59 HP), the B Series (18 to 32 HP), the L Series (30 to 59 HP) and the M Series (43 to 103 HP). The company suggests that the L and M series are appropriate for farming.
Mahindra Tractors started in India in 1963 as a cooperative project between the Indian government and a Czech tractor company. In 1999, a majority stake in the company was purchased by private investors known as Mahindra Group. The Group now owns 60 percent of the company while the government of Gujarat owns 40 percent.
Currently in the U.S., the red Mahindra line includes the 16 Series (18 to 33 HP), the 25 Series (25 to 62 HP), the 30 Series (42 to 65 HP), 35 Series (30 to 40 HP), and the 60 Series (67 to 83 HP).
Written by Bill Ganzel, the Ganzel Group. First published in 2009. A partial bibliography of sources is here.