As the mini-tractor space heats up, new entrants vie to grab a share of the pie. Escorts Agri Machinery today launched a 14 horse-power (HP) mini tractor Steetrac here in Gujarat in association with Rajkot-based Adico Group.
Escorts has entered into a strategic alliance with Rajkot-based auto component maker Adico Group, which is a major supplier to automotive original equipment makers, to manufacture the Steeltrac tractor. "While there is no equity participation, we have designed the tractor, branded it and will also take care of the marketing and servicing aspects," said Sameer Tandon, chief, sales and marketing officer, Escorts Agri Machinery. Adico Group would be manufacturing the tractors at its facility at Rajkot.
The company has invested close to Rs 20 crore over the last two years to develop the manufacturing facility which has current capacity to produce 6,000 tractors, informed Gautam Patel, director, Adico Group. The facility is expandable up to 20,000 tractors per annum.
Escorts claimed that the market for mini-tractors is around 15,000-16,000 tractors per annum and that at the moment the Mahindra Yuvraj (a 15HP tractor) is the market leader selling over 10,000 units per annum. The remaining market lies with unorganised players. Gujarat is the biggest market for such tractors with around 80 per cent of the sales happening here. Next big market is Maharashtra.
"Gujarat is the major market as such tractors are most useful for row farming. In Gujarat row crops like cotton are very common, which requires around 3-5 feet gap between two rows of crops, and many farmers also opt for intermittent vegetable farming in between the lines of crop. Such small and specialised tractors become very handy in such conditions," explained Shenu Agarwal, head, knowledge management centre, Escorts Agri Machinery.
"Also the new Steeltrac will offer 5-15 per cent more fuel economy compared to the other tractors in the segment and is priced attractively at Rs 2.45 lakh. The smallest conventional tractor in the market is priced around Rs 3.8 lakh," he claimed.
Mahindra and Mahindra, which makes the Yuvraj at Rajkot-based PM Diesel's facility, claimed that the Yuvraj has been selling well and that the company has managed to register a growth over last year in Yuvraj sales.