Anyone who has ever walked through the parking lot of a Voka event cannot miss the BMWs, Mercedes or Teslas. Beautiful and expensive cars that show that the CEOs of the companies have taste and money. The farmers’ protest on the Brussels Kleine Ring and in Belliardstraat resembled a large tractor fair. Long rows of gigantic shiny machines stood waiting. A farmer with only a small tractor stood out. “Young farmers look up to beautiful, large tractors,” says Hans Verstreeks, coordinator at the agricultural equipment interest group Fedagrim.
And the tractors are also getting bigger. “While a tractor above 100 HP was still a rarity twenty years ago, it is now standard. A tractor under 100 HP is still good for a gardener.” According to Verstreeks, the tractors are needed for current agricultural work. “With a heavy tractor, a larger team can travel through the country faster. Just like you can spray a field faster with a large spray cart.” Those machines are not cheap. “Count on 100 to 150,000 euros.”
Just like with cars, tractors have brand loyalty and there are premium brands. “Farmers often choose the brand from a dealer with whom they have a good relationship. In the middle of the harvest season, fast service from the garage is very important.”
The best-selling brand for two years has been the prestigious John Deere, an American brand that builds its European tractors in Mannheim, Germany. “John Deere focuses on tractors for precision agriculture, which more and more farmers find important.” John Deere, which sold 415 heavy tractors in Belgium last year, displaced New Holland from first place. Those tractors were made in Antwerp at the time. There is another large factory for threshers in Zedelgem.” New Holland belongs to the Fiat group, to which Case also belongs.
Numbers three and four are also German, with Fendt and Deutz-Fahr. The latter brand now also owns Lamborghini tractors. The famous car builder Ferruccio Lamborghini was originally a tractor builder before he made sports cars. Claas, of which there were numerous tractors at the demonstration, is also a German brand. Is there also a premium brand, a Porsche of tractors? “The Fiat group tried to market Steyr, an originally Austrian brand, as a premium brand, but that was not really successful.”
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