International Tractors Limited (ITL) recently launched a new tractor range in association with Yanmar of Japan.

Story by:
Anwesh Koley

International Tractors Limited (ITL) has announced the launch the Solis-Yanmar range of tractors in association with Yanmar Agribusiness Co. Ltd. of Japan. Available in the 40 hp and above power range, the tractor range is expected to complement the current range of ITL tractors, which amounts to 50 models and over 100 variants under the Sonalika brand. Marking a new milestone in the relationship of the two (ITL and Yanmar) major players, the new tractor range comes against the backdrop of the Indian tractor market witnessing double-digit growth for the third consecutive year in FY2018-2019 at 878,476 units. The 14.1 per cent drop in tractor sales during April to June 2019, which marks the highest fall in four years should not be effective enough to lose hope that good times will soon be back. So, adding fuel to ITL’s ambition of selling 50,000 tractors in five years, and to open 400 dealerships in the next two years, the new Solis-Yanmar tractor range profits from the latest technology Yanmar has to offer. To spring 40 models and 80 variants, the new Solis Yanmar tractor range will address haulage and small farming requirements as well as specialised applications, according to Ken Okuyama, Director, Yanmar Holdings Co. Ltd.

Equipped with ‘SmartAssist Remote’ technology that enables the tractor operator to leverage real-time operational info about his tractor with the use of telematics, the new Solis Yanmar tractor range is powered by efficient diesel engines with single-plunger fuel injection system. Offered with two transmission models as per the hp and intended application, the new tractor range, in terms of design and styling, flaunts projector LED headlamps, in-line with the trend globally, according to Raman Mittal, Executive Director, ITL. Incorporating the best and most innovative technologies tractors the world over have come to possess, the new tractor range will aid optimal usage and higher productivity. It helps the user to protect his investment from abuse and expensive breakdown with the use of modern technologies like the SmartAssist Remote. To better manage the equipment with the use of ‘SmartAssist Remote’ technology, the new Solis Yanmar range, according to Mittal, will aid progress in the direction of automation. Engineered to support a considerable reduction in operating costs over the life-cycle, the new tractor range is expected to provide ITL an edge over competition.

Addressing unique requirements
Looking at profiting from the data had from the use of technologies like ‘SmartAssist Remote’ technology, ITL, will be better positioned to address some unique market challenges experienced in India like water scarcity and the need for greater output with the new range of tractors. Keen to provide tailor-made solutions in the form of tractors that possess four-wheel drive and could be used with rotavator for puddling applications, requiring 50 per cent less water than those tractors which use full cage wheels, ITL, it is clear, is looking to increase its share of the market that is said to include the most number of manufacturers in the world. Claimed to account for 50 per cent of the world’s tractor output in 2016, the Indian market is highly competitive. For Yanmar, which holds a 30 per cent stake in ITL, the Solis Yanmar tractor range should provide an opportunity to showcase its technological prowess. Having developed an autonomous tractor, and a robot-driven tractor in its home market of Japan, the company is well-placed to flex its technology muscles.

ITL Yanmar connection
Through the new Solis Yanmar tractor range, the association between Yanmar and ITL is poised for a next level. While the Indian buyer could be expected to pay a bit more to take advantage of the new technologies, the association between the two (tractor majors) is certain to add a new dimension to the Indian tractor market. Operating an integrated tractor manufacturing plant at Hoshiarpur, Punjab, with a production capacity of three lakh tractors annually, ITL will get an opportunity to leverage its knowledge from exporting the Solis Yanmar range. It exported the first Solis tractor to Europe in 2011, and has since supplied close to 100,000 units. ITL has turned Solis into one of the top-five tractor brands in Europe, according to Mittal. Poised to gain considerable ground in the Indian market, ITL is, according to Mittal, looking at the Solis Yanmar range to revolutionise the quality of ‘Made in India’ farm technologies. It is looking at the tractors to provide higher output with the use of advanced technologies. Mentioned Mittal, “ITL is looking at addressing challenges that are unique to India’s soils and terrain.”

Pointing at a significant increase in sales volumes in the Indian tractor segment – a jump from three lakh units ten years ago to nine lakh units, Mittal averred that the attention of tractor buyers has been shifting to technology and what is the incremental extra offered by the manufacturer over price. Stressing on the application of technology to differentiate the products, Mittal explained, “The Indian market has matured to accept premium products with superior technology.” With an eye on enhancing farming efficiency irrespective of the farm size, ITL, through the new Solis Yanmar tractor range, is looking at providing complete support to its customers by leveraging new technologies like the common-rail diesel technology, turbocharging and others. Responding to the rising preference for closed cabin tractors, the company will offer the new tractor range with the choice of a transparent closed structure made up of a tough polymer composition. Such a tractor could operate even in heavy monsoons.

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