“The economic environment of the European agricultural engineering industry remains positive. The monthly results of the CEMA Business Barometer show a stable boom during the first seven months of 2018”, said Peter-Josef Paffen at the beginning of the International AGCO/Fendt Press Conference. However, he pointed out that the slightly declining values of the last four consecutive months may indicate that a peak has been reached. “There are regions in Europe which experienced and are experiencing strong, even excellent crop yields. In Central, North and East Germany, however, there was and is extreme drought. The early harvest and the therewith linked lower yields are taking a toll on the farmers. Now everything depends on how the farmers’ market prices and incomes are going to develop over the next few months.”
Good market position in Germany – Excellent acceptance of the large tractors
For Fendt, the German tractor market remains the most important single market. Around one third of the annual production is delivered to German customers. “With 3,050 registrations and a market share of 24.2 percent, Fendt took first place in the first half of 2018. That translates to 0.6 percentage points more than a year ago”, said Paffen and pointed out, that the official statistics of the German Federal Motor Transport Authority for tractor registrations is currently influenced by a number of exceptional one-time effects. Due to this, the statistic does not represent the actual market development. The significant decline in new registrations in Germany by 10.7 percent in the first half of 2018 can be traced back to the fact that there was a considerable number of early type approvals in December 2017 and a majority of these tractors, approved under the old EU rules, entered the market in early 2018.
“We are also pleased about the positive market acceptance of large tractors above 300 hp – Fendt 900 and Fendt 1000 Vario. In this segment, Fendt occupies first place with just under 40 percent market share and 366 registrations”, said Paffen and emphasized: “The goal is to further improve Fendt’s market position in Germany by the end of this year.”
Attractive tractor product range convinces in West and Central Europe
Western and Central Europe remains the most important sales region for Fendt. “The improved economic conditions in many regions and product areas within the European agriculture resulted in an increased demand for tractors and agricultural machinery in 2017. This positive development is set to continue in the first half of 2018. We are looking forward to expanding the Fendt market shares in growing markets further. As currently, Fendt is outpacing the market. In 2017 we reached a new high of 8.6 percent and in 2018 we reached the 9 percent mark for the very first time”, said Paffen and explained the reasons for this positive development: “One important reasons for this is our complete and attractive Fendt tractor range from 70 hp up to 517 hp for professionals in all areas. The independent Fendt distribution partners in Europe also play a decisive role in our success. The continuous development and expansion of the Fendt sales network delivers additional thrust. For instance, in the volume markets France and Italy: In France, we are consolidating the third place we achieved for the first time in 2017 with further increases in unit sales and market shares. In Italy, we stand a good chance of increasing the sales of Fendt tractors to more than 1,000 units for the first time in the company's history. In Poland, the restructuring of the Fendt distribution network is yielding positive results. By the end of 2018, we will have an ubiquitous Fendt distribution network in place. Our goal is to increase Fendt's market share in Poland by 5 percent over the next few years.”
Fendt’s growth strategy in the global markets
Outside of Europe first positive results of the strategic initiatives are also showing. “For the first time, we will sell more than 800 tractors (Fendt and Challenger) in North America this year. The average volume over the last few years stood at around 400 units. This is mainly due to the traction of the new flagship Fendt 1000 Vario. This also benefits the other Fendt model series. We have also made first steps with the Fendt Full Line in North America. In North America, the new AGCO IDEAL large combine harvester is only sold under the Fendt brand. That's a clear commitment to the Fendt brand in this region. The rather solid Fendt business development in North America enables a premature increase in the number of planned tractors to 2000 in the medium term. The prior goal was at 1000 units.”
Fendt was also able to significantly increase the volume in Australia/New Zealand. “Following sales figures of around 200 to 300 units in the past, we sold as many as 427 Fendt tractors in 2017. Our target for 2018 is a sales volume of 550 Fendt tractors. We are also making first steps with Fendt Full Line in this region with the market launch of the Fendt Tigo loader wagons and the Fendt round balers in the 2018/2019 season.”
Fendt plans to sell around 1,000 Fendt tractors in the entire AGCO APA region (Asia-Pacific and Africa). In Africa the primary focus will be on the South African market.
Goal: 20,000 tractors in 2020
“The year 2017 was an excellent year for Fendt. We were able to increase tractor sales by around 10 percent to 15,020 units as previously announced. This positive trend continued in the current year. We expect tractor sales of 16,800 units by the end of this year. That's a plus of another 12 percent. This means we are on course for meeting the Fendt 2020 strategic goal of selling around 20,000 tractors by 2020”, said Paffen.
New locations – More staff
As announced a year ago, AGCO was able to take over the two locations of Waldstetten and Wolfenbüttel with about 300 employees. At the end of December 2017, a total of 4,928 people were employed at the six AGCO sites in Germany (Marktoberdorf, Asbach-Bäumenheim, Feucht, Hohenmölsen, Waldstetten and Wolfenbüttel). Due to the solid business development, the number of employees increased at all locations. By mid-2018 5,239 people were employed, 311 more than at the end of 2017.
More than € 70 million for research and development
“The Research and Development team is deeply anchored in Fendt's corporate culture. This is where sustainable products and technologies are created. We now have around 500 engineers working on new and further developments of tractors and forage harvesters. For the first time, the development budget is set to exceed € 70 million this year.”
Global and digital Full Liner
The goal of the Fendt 2020 strategy, presented in 2017, is to develop the Fendt brand into a global and digital Full Liner. “We are working intensively on specific projects in our most important fields of action: That's the Fendt Spirit, Fendt Quality, Fendt Partner Networks, Fendt Full Line and global Fendt growth. The Fendt strategy appears to be working well. We are currently ahead of the strategic plan. We are confident that our progress will continue on this successful path in the next few years”, explained Paffen.
Fendt Full Line Program is well received
Not only with its tractor range Fendt shows steady growth. This also applies to the entire Fendt Full Line range. “With our four product lines (Fendt track tractors, Fendt round balers, Fendt self-loading wagons and Fendt application equipment), we are doing really well in 2018, our first year of sales. This year, we will bring 110 Fendt track tractors to market. The growth in Fendt combine harvesters sold is also solid: 450 units, 100 more than a year earlier. Katana sales are steady and at a low level as planned. Here, there is still a lack of models in the lower performance segment. The sales development of Fendt balers is also rather pleasing. The square balers are doing better every year. For 2018, 125 units are planned. The new round balers from the Wolfenbüttel plant managed a particularly good start. The acceptance among customers has been great. If everything goes according to plan, we will sell more than 600 Fendt round balers in the first year. The Fendt mowers, tedders and rakes from the AGCO plant in Feucht are also doing very well. A total of approx. 2,660 Fendt forage harvesters are set to be delivered by the end of 2018, the second full year of sales. That's more than twice as many as the year before. The Fendt loader wagons from the Waldstetten plant are also in extremely high demand. More than 100 units were sold on the market in the first year of sales”, said Paffen, presenting the positive developments of the Fendt Full Line Program. He added that targeted expansions in investments and the integration of various systems are planned, in order to avoid delay in deliveries in future.
Fendt IDEAL Road Tour 2018
The global market launch of the IDEAL large combine harvester is proceeding according to plan. “The presentation of the new combine harvester flagship series at the Agritechnica in November 2017 has already caused quite a stir. Both customers and sales partners were enthusiastic about the novelty and concept, and showed great interest. The 2018 harvest was all about demonstrating threshing quality and performance in practical use. We therefore organized our so-called Fendt IDEAL Road Tour 2018 in seven European countries in cooperation with the Fendt sales partners. Four Fendt teams spent the past three months travelling around the classic European grain locations with two IDEAL harvesters. Locally, the Fendt distribution partners took on the organization of sending invites and conducting the demonstrations. In total, we welcomed around 1,000 interested customers in Europe on 75 presentation days, and harvested around 20,000 tonnes of grain on an area of 3,000 hectares. In North America Fendt colleagues also presented the IDEAL at several demonstrations. In all regions, our new IDEAL combines impressed with their excellent threshing quality, straw quality and top harvesting performance”, said Paffen and declared the start of the early selling season at once: “As of tomorrow, customers can order IDEAL harvesters from their Fendt distributor for the 2019 harvest. Now we also offer a complete range of combine harvesters from the 200 hp combine harvester to the 600 hp Fendt IDEAL 9T for maximum daily output.”
AGCO/Fendt concentrates on developing its activities in the digital sector
“Today, digitalization affects almost all areas of daily life and business”, said Paffen and emphasized: “The new digital world is set to transform modern enterprises. Including AGCO and Fendt. Two years ago, the AGCO Board of Directors decided to build the new AGCO Digital Center in Marktoberdorf. This DCX (Digital Customer Experience) team lays the foundation for future digital networking with distribution partners and customers. Again, we aim to offer the best solutions in the industry.” The DCX project was launched in March 2018 after several months of preparations. By now, more than 100 employees at the Marktoberdorf site are cooperating with expert teams at all AGCO locations around the world. Worldwide the team consists of 260 employees. The plan is to introduce new digital processes in the three pilot markets UK/Ireland, France and Germany over the next two years, followed by the overseas markets. The project encompasses new online portals, e-commerce, new CRM marketing and data analysis tools. When it comes to digitalization, Fendt is also aiming to position itself as one of the leaders, Paffen stressed: “Fendt takes the lead role in digitalization and sets the standards for the best solutions. Fendt enjoys the utmost confidence in the handling of data.”
Fendt Future Farming
At the end of his presentation, Paffen came to talk about the state of development of the future projects Fendt Xaver Robot, Fendt e100 Vario and Precision Planting: “The Xaver Robot has met with great interest worldwide since its presentation at Agritechnica 2017. Not a week passes without specific requests for interviews, and more detailed information. The Xaver is a system platform for light, high-precision tasks. The system is set to supplement the intelligent large tractor by carrying out certain tasks such as sowing, mechanical weed control, fertilization and plant observation in a more productive, flexible and precise manner. We plan to use the next development stage of the sowing unit and robot as part of further development in the coming year. Our battery-powered compact tractor Fendt e100 Vario is also generating interest. There were numerous concrete enquiries from municipalities at IFAT in Munich, the world's leading trade fair for environmental technologies, which took place in May 2018. We are still convinced by our concept. The current high-performance batteries permit operation of a tractor of about 50 kilowatts in a municipal setting. At the end of the year, we will build the next e100 Vario, which will be ready for deployment in spring. The US company Precision Planting has been part of AGCO Group for a year now. Precision Planting has stood for innovative sowing technologies for the past 25 years. Special sensors and actuators ensure a precise sowing depth for seeds under changing conditions. The goal is optimal field emergence and higher yields. The systems are set to be tested in Europe for the first time this year. Locally, in Wadenbrunn, Precision Planting technologies were also used for the sowing of the corn area. We are impressed with the high precision, and also convinced that this technology can be usefully used to optimize yields in Europe."