In 2015 it was American firm John Deere that managed to hold on to the dominant top spot in the tractor market when it comes to machines registered in the UK, with 3,655 units sold nationally, according to new figures released by the Agricultural Engineers’ Association.
The report, which covers all tractors of at least 50hp or greater, suggests that the market is continuing on a downward trend overall. Even the biggest brands are seeing sales slip, with a few significant exceptions.
Regulations require that sales figures are not published for a full year, meaning there is still a long wait to see how well the market performed in 2016. But it is nevertheless interesting to look at what defined 2015 in the farm machinery market.
Sales Fell for 2015
With 10,602 tractors registered in total, almost all of the most significant players in the marketplace saw sales fall year on year.
Second-place New Holland managed to shift 381 fewer machines during this period than it did in the course of 2014. Massey Ferguson’s registration numbers slipped by 315, while Case IH dropped off by 232.
The less established manufacturers tended to fare better, with JCB seeing sales of its FastTrac range rise by 30 units in 2015. Italian brand Landini boosted its standing in the UK, selling 105 tractors nationwide, which represents a modest increase of two on the previous year.
The most surprising increase in sales was achieved by Kubota, which sold 810 tractors in 2015 – 174 more than in 2014. Company spokesperson Rob Edwards said that this was in part due to the fact that the firm had really thrown its efforts into succeeding in the farm machinery marketplace and had managed to achieve impressive growth as a result of this new focus.
He explained that the firm has a goal of securing a 10% stake of the market over the next half decade, although he admitted that this would be challenging to achieve. At the moment it accounts for 6.7% of sales, with a 2.0% increase in its share reported in 2015.
Varied and Diverse Options Available
John Deere’s dominant 30.2% stake was actually up by over half a per cent in 2015 in spite of the fall in sales, which shows that the market as a whole is contracting slightly even if this is not leading to a major reshuffle.
Kubota will no doubt be hoping to steal business from its main rivals and increase its slice of the market, presumably by taking the fight to multiple firms at once rather than targeting a single specific organisation with its upcoming tractor products.
Another aspect of the market which is illustrated by this report is just how varied and diverse the tractor options that are available to UK farmers can be, especially for those who are willing to think outside of the box. Quality models built both in the UK and elsewhere in Europe from up and coming brands are helping to improve the competitive nature of the new and used farm machinery sectors.