Zetor wants more dealers

Was it the free Czech beer at the Zetor pub (4,320 glasses served in total), the new-styled Major, or perhaps the opportunity to have a picture taken with the model posing by one of the new tractors? Whatever the reason, Zetor’s Agritechnica stand was crowded from start to finish of the week-long event.

Despite the bubbly nature of the stand, behind the scenes the mood is more serious. With over 1.3 million tractors sold during the past 70 years, the brand is known in most areas of the world, but Zetor’s top five markets are all in Eastern Europe, something the Czech tractor maker says must change.

Part of an ambitious plan to sell more tractors, the company wants to increase its presence in the rest of Europe, the US, Canada, Brazil and Russia. These plans have started well in the latter following a strategic partnership with KEMP – Zetor will deliver SKD kits of the Forterra 135 (150 kits planned for 2017) and 450 kits planned for 2018.

Other target markets where the Czech tractor maker sees potential to grow its business are the Asia-Pacific region, and there is also potential to re-enter markets were Zetor historically had a strong presence, such as Central and South America, Australia and New Zealand and Africa.

Zetor also wants to strengthen its dealer network in western Europe, and particularly in France, Germany and the UK, where it is looking for new dealers. It also wants to improve the quality of existing dealer premises, improve dealer personnel selling techniques and raise the attractiveness of the franchise.

Why become a new Zetor dealer? “It offers a low initial investment for new dealers and we provide support during the business start-up process,” said sales and marketing director Robert Todt. “Also, it is a traditional brand that offers an extended portfolio of tractors.”

Zetor added two new ranges to the family at Agritechnica in the form of the TYM-made Hortus and Utilis (in production from January 2018). Bringing the total number of Zetor tractor ranges to six (Utilis, Hortus, Major, Proxima, Forterra and Crystal) and spanning 40-170hp, Mr Todt says the initial focus is with these two smaller 40-80hp ranges, which allows the company to compete in this important power segment, which in the UK and the US, accounts for 5% and 56% of the total tractor market.

Zetor has a good product offering in the 80-170hp segment, which in the UK and the Czech markets accounts for 59% and 57% of the total market. Over the years, the Zetor ranges have done it proud in this power band. In production since 2004, more than 35,000 Proxima tractors have been sold to date, plus another 25,000 Forterras since 1998. Launched in 1992, more than 46,500 Majors have been sold and over 44,000 Crystals since the first one was produced in 1968.

However, that the company cannot afford to sit back and rest on its laurels is evident in the 170hp+ market, which in the UK alone is good for 36% of total volumes. Zetor’s 170hp Crystal is the brand’s most popular tractor, but the company currently has nothing to offer customers seeking more power. This could soon change and while there are no details, we are promised an ‘all new’ Crystal HD in the second half of 2018, but the new exterior styling on the Agritechnica-launched Major will only be available on this tractor in 2018. Looking further ahead, Mr Todt says Zetor will at some point need a range of 200-250hp tractors, but not just yet is his message.

Finally, Zetor also more engines (3-6cyl), transmissions and complete drivelines. The 4-pot version on display at Agritechnica (Stage V ready) is found in the Proxima and Forterra, while the 3 and 6-pot Stage IIIB versions on show are still prototypes.

We understand there are no plans to fit either engine in a Zetor tractor in 2018, but it will happen in the future. In the meantime, the company is keen to seek OEM partners.

The message is clear. Zetor is looking to further raise its game and we can expect lots of new developments in the future. Back to the present where we’re enjoying the festive season. Happy Christmas!