While there’s been much fanfare around the arrival of Chinese-owned, Italian-built Arbos tractors for a number of years, until now there’s been no sign of any production machines for us to try. Finally, with the help of a Dutch dealer, we got hold of one of the first 136hp Global tractors to appear on the scene.
Back in 2011, the Chinese company Foton Lovol tasked a team of engineers based near Bologna in Italy to develop a range of European-spec tractors. A good number of the group had experience with existing Italian-based tractor manufacturers including Case New Holland, Argo (McCormick/Landini) and SAME Deutz-Fahr so things looked promising for the fledgling outfit.
Then, in early 2015, the Chinese firm acquired the Italian seed drill specialist MaterMacc and just one
year later the struggling compact tractor maker Goldoni. This final move was critical in gaining the outfit a proper production plant. Situated at Migliarina di Carpi near Modena, the former Goldoni factory is now rolling out Arbos 5000-series tractors spanning the 100-140hp range. The result of four years of joint development work between the Italian engineering team and another in China, they use a Chinese chassis and many Chinese parts.
Dutch dealer Bernhold Mols was one of the first to take delivery of a production unit. The largest model in the range, the 136hp 5130, has a 3.4-litre, four-cylinder power-plant sourced from American engine maker Kohler — not that well known in the tractor sector but a common supplier to makers of compact equipment and loaders — JCB, for example.