Tractor manufacturers were putting on a brave face at Agritechnica last week, but the current state of the industry is far from rosy. Take AGCO, for example, which has lost US$3 billion in sales during the past two years. “This is painful and the current market situation is not good,” says company top man Martin Richenhagen. The massive drop in fortunes is forcing the company to look hard at ways to reduce production costs. Speaking at Agritechnica, Mr Richenhagen stressed that none of AGCO’s tractor plants are for sale and there are no plans to sell Valtra. “But we do need to look at ways to save money,” he said. One cost-saving measure will see the concern adopt a common platform strategy to share as many components as possible across its three tractor brands (MF, Fendt and Valtra). Mr Richenhagen views this common platform approach as the most important project for AGCO. “If we can double the volumes then this will lower our production costs by 7-8%.” The AGCO boss is of the opinion that whatever lies below the bonnet of a tractor can be similar, but that everything above it has to be different. “The secret is to keep brand identities. An MF tractor has to look and feel like and MF. The same is also true for Fendt and Valtra.” He added that the use of common modules is the real key to the company’s platform strategy. “This could result in us only offering two powershift transmissions and just one CVT in the future.” Other examples where AGCO is looking to drive down costs are with exhaust after treatment systems. “Valtra and MF systems are already similar, and we will see more of this in the future.” He also spoke of further investment in the AGCO Power engine business, and we can expect to see more of these engines appear in the concern’s products in the future – including Fendt.