AGCO to phase out orange tractor line
The rumor mill has been swirling with reports that AGCO Corporation will be phasing out its orange tractor line, and the rumors in fact are true, company sources told Agriculture Online Monday. The company confirmed its decision to phase out the AGCO brand of tractors over time and said it will be marketing AGCO tractors with dealer partners through 2011.
The driving force behind the decision is to fit its North American brands into the corporate strategy of focusing on fewer brands to increase market share, company sources say.
Recently, Martin Richenhagen, AGCO CEO, said that "we are pretty much on schedule with the reduction of our many brands in North America and we will bring it down to two only, and they are Massey Ferguson and Challenger. All the rest will be integrated into those two brands."
"By focusing resources on fewer brands, AGCO can improve the impact of its marketing and engineering, and also improve its global competitiveness," says Robert Crain, senior vice president & general manager, North America.
To accomplish this goal, AGCO says it will emphasize strong full-line brands and a realignment of its traditional brands through co-branding. This also means reducing the number of brands it offers in North America and phasing out certain brands like AGCO, with the ultimate goal being to have two full line brands-- Massey Ferguson and Challenger.
The strategy raises questions for farmers and dealers alike. What will become of AGCO dealers? Will you still be able to get customer support for your AGCO tractor? Does this mean other brands under the umbrella will follow?
Founded in 1990, AGCO Corporation was first called Gleaner-Allis Corporation, then renamed Allis-Gleaner Corporation, or AGCO. The design for tractors and combines was originally created by Allis-Chalmers Corporation before it was sold to Deutz-Allis. The Deutz-Allis tractor line was renamed AGCO-Allis, and Gleaner became a brand of its own for combines.
Once the A in AGCO disappears, it's only natural to wonder how long before the rest of the name might be eliminated.
While there are still many details to work out, company representatives make it clear that the orange tractor is the only brand that is going to be phased out.
"A lot of people believe the Gleaner combine is married to the orange tractor. However, that is not true. They are very different products. It's a unique combine that can offer features other brands cannot," says Phil Jones of AGCO. "The Gleaner brand and product line is not going away. In fact, it's an area we intend to grow in the future."
In addition, the company wants to emphasize that if you own an AGCO tractor or plan to purchase one in the near future, support for the line will not disappear.
"AGCO is going to do the things it has always done as far as support, and we fully anticipate the relationship between AGCO owners and dealers will be preserved," says Jones.
As the company works through all of the details to phase out its orange brand, dealers and customers will be involved in a comprehensive customer retention program. AGCO says it will work with all of its dealers on a case-by-case basis to find a workable solution. Every AGCO dealer will be given an opportunity to transition to one of the company's "go forward" brands and for the most part will be transitioned to Massey Ferguson and in a few cases to Challenger.