MF sales increased by a claimed 13.0% last year and the plan for this year is to grow it again to get closer to the targets. On the tractor front, this requires the French tractor plant in Beauvais to increase last year’s output of around 14,000 tractors to 18,000 units.
Equivalent to a 30.0% increase in output, there is clearly a lot of work to do. This is not a dream, said MF vice president and managing director Europe and Middle East, Thierry LHotte. “It is going to happen, “ he said. “We are in growth mode so now is the time to do it.”
This growth mode requires parent company AGCO to make another multi-£million investment in land and infra-structure in Beauvais during the next five years.
Parts supply is currently a big issue, not just at AGCO, but for all the major brands. The number of different parts needed at the plant are rising. Back in 2014 they used 7,000 different ones. This number is expected to increase to 20,000 by 2020.
In preparation of being able to source more parts faster, space is being planned within the complex for external component suppliers to store parts and even have their own on-site sales teams.
MF is also looking to provide customers with more choice and something else in the pipeline is a new building to customise tractors. Apparently, this will be different to Valtra’s Unlimited Studio at the Suolahti facility in Finland, and in Beauvais a special area will be created dedicated to adding options that cannot be done on the main production line.
This could include additional heating facilities for Nordic Countries or orchard tyres. This cunning move will no doubt allow the production line to produce more standard models on the production line.
Another new initiative is the re-manufacture of tractor transmissions, the first of which are planned to start at the end of this year. Engines are already re-manufactured in Finland but the concept for transmissions is new and will not only be available for new models but also older ones including the 3000 Series.
Once they are brought to Beauvais, the gearboxes will be stripped and renovated. Covered by a 12 months warranty when pieced back together again, we understand that a re-built transmission will cost roughly 40.0% of the price of a new one.
Finally, in 2014, 59% of AGCO’s west European dealers were exclusive to Fendt, MF or Valtra, or operated a split sales team. Today, this figure has risen to 88.0%. There is a massive shift to exclusivity is the message.