Escorts ploughs deep in premium tractor segment

May 17th, 2012 - 6:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, May 17 (IANS) In an attempt to regain its top position in the high-powered tractor segment, tractor maker Escorts Ltd. will launch one new range every six months, said a senior company official here Thursday.

Launching two new high-power models - Farmtrac 6060 (60 hp) and 6065 (65 hp)- S.Sridhar, chief executive officer of Escorts Agri Machinery Group, said: “The high horse power (hp) tractor segment is logging good growth now. Escorts was the leader in this segment earlier and our focus is to regain that leadership position.”

Elaborating on the reasons for growth of high-powered tractors, Sridhar said there was “informal consolidation” of land holdings among blood relatives at the farm level in states like Punjab, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. “One person in a family looks after the farm while others migrate to cities.”

“Farmers in these three states are progressive and are exposed to innovative technologies. If satisfied with the value proposition, they would go in for higher powered machines,” Sridhar added.

Terming such farmers as executive farmers, Escorts has positioned its new tractors as the India’s first executive tractors.

Both the models come with a new four-cylinder turbo charged, inter-cooled engine that delivers higher torque to run larger implements and pull heavier loads.

Apart from their usage in farming, these tractors can be used for other applications like cane haulage, earth moving and other tasks which in turn increase the revenue opportunities for their owners, Sridhar remarked.

Rolling out around 200 units per month now of the models, Escorts will gradually increase the numbers in the coming months and hopes to sell around 10,000 units next fiscal.

Last fiscal, Escorts sold 63,000 tractors and Sridhar declined to commit any sales figure for the current year. The company’s accounting year is from October to September.

The tractor segment could be classified into three categories - small (below 35 hp); medium (35-50 hp) and large (above 50 hp).

According to the company’s marketing head Shenu Agarwal, the share of small tractor segment is going down since 2011-12 while the medium sized tractors are also expected to be stagnant during 2012-13 and go down during 2013-14.

“The 50 hp-plus segment which had a market share of six percent in 2003-04 got doubled in 2011-12 and is set to increase to 15 percent and 23 percent during 2012-13 and 2013-14 respectively,” Agarwal said.

Last fiscal the Indian tractor market size was pegged at around 525,000 units.

According to Sridhar, the company exports around 2,000 tractors each year.

“Our wholly-owned subsidiary in Poland makes 100-hp tractors and sell them in Europe,” he added.

Predicting stagnant market conditions for the tractor industry this fiscal, Sridhar said the market would grow from next year onwards and Escorts would like to be comfortably positioned to cash in on that.

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