Trade focus: ‘It’s great to just press a button and it works’

“Tumosan will be in the top ten best-selling brands in 2018.”

That’s the confident prediction of Michael Brogan – founder and proprietor of Brogan Tractors, Cloghan, Co. Offaly.

Time will tell if he is correct in his forecast, but he happily backs his claim with some sharp observations of the trade.

“In Ireland, we will be lucky to sell 2,000 new tractors [overall – across all brands and dealers] this year,” he noted, before pointing out that in Turkey – the home of Tumosan – farmers buy 60,000 units annually.

Tumosan

Over there, the marque is the second best seller after CNH, which also has a factory in the country. It cannot be by accident that Tumosan sells between 11,000 and 12,000 tractors a year in its native land – an achievement that Michael feels is due to a combination of simplicity and reliability.

Unashamedly based on a Fiat design, the tractors are built almost entirely in Turkey – rather than simply being assembled there from bought-in components.

Tumosan

Fiat is no longer directly involved in the company; yet that famous square bonnet has been produced under licence throughout the world. Its enduring popularity cannot be dismissed too lightly by competitors.

The question then arises as to whether the virtue of well-tried simplicity is transferable to a more sophisticated western European market?

“Reliability is certainly welcome, wherever it is found.” As for electronics, Michael quotes one particular customer who remarked that “it’s great to just press a button and it works” when asked how he was getting on with his new, fully-mechanical Tumosan.

Tumosan

It might be thought that the aversion to ‘digital for everything’ is a trait of the older generation, but Michael insists that it is across the board. Likewise, sales are not just confined to farmers in the west; he has at least one in every county – except Dublin – which, one gets the feeling, niggles a little.

Tumosan

Having been appointed as sole importer in 2011 – a decade after the tractors’ introduction into Ireland – Michael believes that Tumosan is now on the threshold of becoming a first-line brand, rather than operating on the fringe.

When pressed on which brands will be displaced from the top ten he says only that there are far better-known names selling less than the Turkish ‘upstart’.

Being the Irish importer, it is up to Michael to appoint dealers and he looks for firms that will both promote the brand and keep a stock of spares and tractors for immediate availability.

Not every potential agent that contacts him may be as committed as he would wish; he draws a distinction between sleeping and active dealers. Those that are appointed are doing well, he claims, and the network now has enough tractors on the ground to ensure that prospective customers can usually see one working in their locality.

Tumosan

As to how the brand will grow, he foresees two separate developments in the future. The first is the importation of a limited range of Tumosan implements – to sell alongside the tractors. The second is to enter the UK market, for which he also holds the agency.

Yet, he is in no rush to do either – preferring to focus on the tractors – and the dairy sector in particular – for the time being.

It cannot be overlooked that the over-riding factor in all machinery sales is price. Tumosans are certainly at the competitive end of the scale. At the time of writing, €31,500 will see you equipped with a 85hp ‘Classic‘ model, while an extra €2,000 will get you 95hp.

Tumosan

Running costs are also well constrained; just €95 is needed for a full set of filters and oil.

Michael is somewhat sceptical of the trend towards buying larger tractors than necessary.

“100hp will do all the regular jobs on a stock farm, while contractors will do the rest,” he pointed out.

Tumosan

Big tractors are expensive to buy and run, so why do so – when a new tractor can be had for the same money as a well-used example from a major brand?

It’s a good question and one that he hopes will be asked more often, as the Tumosan name grows.

Tumosan

ArmaTrac is another agency that Brogan Tractors holds; these are also built in Turkey although the parent company has just been bought out by Mahindra of India.

Armatrac

Quite how this will affect the future of the brand is unclear at the moment. However, Michael maintains they are an excellent machine built of well tried and tested components, many of which would have started life in the company’s own foundry.

Armatrac

The reliance upon known names such as Perkins, Bosch and ZF is reflected in the price premium over their compatriots.

Outside the world of machinery sales Michael is well known as a great tractor enthusiast with a sound knowledge of both the modern trade and vintage/classic tractors. He was instrumental in gathering together nearly 100 Zetors at nearby Belmont for an anniversary rally two years ago.

As always in the trade the future is a favourite topic of discussion.

The greatest change that Michael can see is the rise of the eastern manufacturer, and not just China; India and Russia are two other countries that pose a threat to the established western brands.

He sees the ‘Anglo American’ companies moving some of their manufacturing to Asia, as a natural reaction to this challenge.

Tumosan

Closer to home, he is convinced that a certain Japanese brand will make serious in-roads into the European market and that Tumosan itself will start moving towards a 200hp tractor.

They have the engines to do so, he insists. Here in Ireland, they have a keen importer ready to sell them.

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