AGCO’s Challenger brand was catapulted into the spotlight recently following an internet story suggesting it was withdrawing from Europe and all other markets outside of North America, that all Challenger products will be painted in Fendt green, and Challenger’s Dutch facility at Grubbenvorst will close.
There is something going on confirms vice president and managing director Challenger (EME) Gary Rollinson of AGCO, but it is too early to draw any conclusions. A proposal to integrate the Challenger organisation within that of Fendt was announced earlier this year, but the actual branding of the products has still to be decided. The firm is still at the consultation stage and reviewing the best way forward, is the message. “Any branding change will only be applicable to Europe and the Middle East,” says Mr Rollinson. “The rest of the world is unaffected by the European discussions.” He adds that there will be new green products next year, but it is not yet known in which regions of Europe, and it is possible Challenger products will continue to be available in certain European markets.
One part of the proposed organisational change will see Challenger transfer manufacturing of the self-propelled sprayer to Germany, to join the trailed sprayer production which is currently being manufactured in Hohenmölsen – the home of Fendt’s Katana SPFH. While some job losses would appear to be unavoidable at Grubbenvorst, it is possible the facility will remain open for engineering, marketing and service.
An official announcement is expected within a few weeks.