Kubota partners with Versatile for big horsepower

There have been several rumours over the years on Kubota purchasing a European tractor maker to fast track its way into the higher horsepower market. But in a surprise turn of events it is now to partner with Buhler Industries, the Canadian manufacturer of the Versatile tractors, to make a new series of mid-horsepower tractors for the Kubota Corporation.

by Mervyn Bailey/Steven Vale

15 Mar 2019

Part of a plan to accelerate Kubota’s large tractor business, the new range will be built at the Versatile tractor plant in Winnipeg, Canada.

More powerful than the current flagship M7152 (175hp) in the French built M7002 range, apparently the development of the new tractor platform began nearly five years ago. The model numbers, and all technical details, will not be released until the US and Canadian launch, which is planned for the second half of this year. The bodywork could look completely different to our photoshopped version of the Nemesis above. 

The marketing agreement would appear to be a win-win situation for both companies, giving Kubota larger tractors and Buhler a way to increase production at the Winnipeg plant, improving efficiency and reducing overheads.

It could be coincidental, but the news follows the recent preview of the new three-model mid-range (175hp, 195hp and 210hp) Versatile Nemesis tractors, which are also made in Winnipeg.

Main features of the newcomers include the 6.7-litre Cummins Stage V QSB engine and ZF powershift transmission. A ZF CVT is planned for the future as are more powerful models up to 250hp.

It remains to be seen whether the new Kubota platform, which could well be known as the M8002, is based on a similar platform, but like the new Kubota range, the Nemesis will be in production and on sale from the autumn.

Other unanswered questions includes whether Kubota has any plans to ship the new tractors to Europe and longer term could Buhler provide Kubota with articulated tractors?

We will have to wait and see but this year is an Agritechnica one, an ideal opportunity for Kubota to show the new mid-range models to a global audience.