Check out this ‘Chinese’ combine, with an Italian twist

AgriLand brought you news of Arbos – an emerging tractor brand – back in March of this year. That followed the tractors’ appearance at the large-scale SIMA show in Paris – during February.

These tractors are the result of a collaboration between Foton, one of China’s largest tractor manufacturers, and an Italian brand. We noted, at that time, that these tractors might pop up at trade shows in the UK, and even here in Ireland, in 2018.

Also Read: SIMA 2017: Arbos tractors to land in Ireland next year?

Arbos tractor

Arbos is planning to build tractors up to 260hp. However, the focus will initially be on its 4-cylinder offerings – the three-model 5000 Series line-up. Reports indicate that these will be priced approximately 10% lower than existing “premium” tractor brands.

European tractor manufacture will take place at the Goldoni compact tractor factory, which has been acquired by Arbos’ parent company.

Also, expect to see a much wider range of agricultural equipment come on stream from Arbos. Thanks to the acquisition of Matermacc, the growing entity now has access to power harrows, drills and fertiliser spreaders.

New combine harvester brand

Most notably, look out for a new Arbos-branded combine harvester in the near future. The company has been showcasing an early, ‘live’ example of such a machine – at events around Europe during recent months.

Arbos

It will be the flagship product in a growing dossier of equipment, which will be rolled out across an expanding list of countries around the globe. Already, in Italy, the firm has begun to appoint retail dealers; expect to see a fledgling sales network emerge in the UK in 2018.

Arbos

Only time will tell if and when these tractors and agricultural machines will make their way here to Ireland and, indeed, through what channels such equipment might be sold. Watch this space!

Who or what is Arbos?

Foton (Lovol), from China, is effectively the company behind the new Arbos tractor line-up.

Since its foundation in 1998, Foton has grown to become a very significant manufacturer of agricultural and earth-moving equipment, alongside an extensive range of diesel engines and light vehicles.

Today, Foton claims to be the biggest Chinese manufacturer of farm machinery; it makes 100,000 tractors each year and reportedly has a 35-40% share of its home market. The company also builds 50,000 combine harvesters annually. Yearly turnover is now estimated at €3.15 billion.

The establishment of Lovol Arbos Group three years ago – Foton’s tie-up with Arbos – signalled the company’s intention to break into the European tractor market. In reality, Foton bought the rights to the brand name.

Though largely unknown elsewhere in Europe, the Italian-based Arbos company had a long history of making tractors – initially under the Bubba name. The firm also produced combine harvesters; the last of these was produced in the mid 1990s.

The result of all of this is a range of tractors – the new Arbos line-up – that was designed or at least inspired in Europe. It’s an impressive feat, considering that all of this has come to pass in a relatively short space of time.

Arbos

Considering the resources that underpin Foton, and hence Lovol Arbos Group, it is likely that this new family of tractors will gain some ground across Europe over the coming years.

Italian Origins

The Arbos story, on the Italian side, started way back in the 1890s, when the Bubba family opened a small workshop in Santimento in northern Italy. There, they started making basic farm implements. In 1896, the first thresher was produced.

In 1923, the family built its first hot-bulb engined tractor, followed by its first crawler tractor in 1936.

During the early 1950s, the company bought a bicycle factory – trading under the name Arbos – and moved to new premises. There, it started producing combine harvesters, with the first being fitted with a Deutz air-cooled engine.

In 1964, American firm White bought Arbos, leading to the development of a whole plethora of new machines.

Unfortunately, Arbos closed in 1994 when it was only four years away from its centennial celebrations. 10 years later, the Chinese stepped in – to resurrect the Italian brand-name from the ashes.

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