EDITORIAL – The Land.
They look new, sound new, even smell new, but the fully “remanufactured” Japanese Kubota tractors are actually secondhand. And at just half the price of a brand new machine, these rebuilt machines created quite a stir at the Henty machinery field day.
SOTA Tractors director, Martin Cooper, from Clifton Hill in Victoria, has sold about 20 of the tractors in the 13 to 34 kilowatt (17-46hp) power range since he started importing them in June.
Mr Cooper said the rebuilding included replacing many worn components, while thoroughly cleaning and upgrading other parts, including the motor, transmission, alternator, brakes, wheels, wiring, and upholstery, plus giving the machine a new paint job. The tractors are sold with a three month warranty and dealer backup, similar to that provided for new machines.
During the first day at Henty, Mr Cooper watched a steady stream of people walk onto his site and discuss the “new tractors”, so he put up signs promoting “half-price tractors” and waited for the reaction. “People came over after looking at the tractors and the signs and asked what the catch was,” he said. “When they realised that there wasn’t a catch and these were remanufactured tractors at half the price of a typical model of the same horsepower, our inquiries grew enormously.”
The remanufacturing work is undertaken in Asia to take advantage of the cheap labour costs, before the machines are shipped here to target the small-area, horticulture, lifestyle and hobby farmer market. “We are finding the hobby farmer market is large. There are probably up to 300,000 hobby farmers in Australia that are not picked up by the ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics),” he said. “Many small farms that turn over less than $5000 will consider buying a secondhand tractor.”