AGCO/Fendt on target

For Fendt and indeed the rest of the world, 2020 will go down in history as an extraordinary year – the year of corona. And Christoph Gröblinghoff, Vice President, Brand Head Fendt EME and Chairman of the Board, appeared all the more happy at the international AGCO/Fendt Press Conference held at the Fendt Forum in Marktoberdorf, as he reported on the relatively stable agricultural equipment markets and on the palpable strength of the Fendt brand in these times of crisis. Despite the current pandemic, Fendt can close 2020 with very decent results.

“AGCO has invested a total of around one billion US dollars in our German AGCO sites and Fendt tractor development over the last 16 years. Like no other, Martin has fiercely promoted the Fendt brand and never before has anyone asked so much from it. The success and rise of the Fendt brand, especially in the Richenhagen era, speak for themselves; the number of employees has more than doubled, tractor sales have increased by 70%, and the successful expansion of the extensive Fendt full-line range of tractors, combine harvesters, forage harvesters and sprayers has seen some amazing progress”, said the Chairman of the AGCO/Fendt Management Board, summarising the success story before wishing Martin Richenhagen all the best for the future.

“Since March 2020, we have been working intensively on the effects of the corona crisis. From the end of March to the end of April 2020, despite healthy order volumes, we had to put our tractor production and most of our harvester production on hold for five weeks. This was due to the closure of subcontracting plants in Italy and France as a result of the rapidly worsening coronavirus pandemic.

We used this time to prepare the company, implementing numerous measures to protect all our employees as much as possible. Production at Fendt’s sites has been without further covid-related interruptions since the beginning of May. By the end of September, we were able to catch up on just over half of the production backlog in the tractor sector”, said Gröblinghoff, describing the current situation in these times of the pandemic. He went on to clearly state that, “Covid-19 will keep us busy well into 2021, and we have now learned to live and work with the virus. As a food source, agriculture is inherently important and, with a few exceptions, hardly affected by the corona crisis. So, thankfully, the agricultural technology business is running normally on the whole. The regional drought and, currently, African swine fever are having a much wider impact on agriculture right now.”

“After slightly better figures initially in January and February 2020, March, April and May were affected by the corona crisis and we rapidly entered the depths of the recession”, said the Chairman of the AGCO/Fendt Management Board about the mood in the European agricultural technology industry, which is mapped by the Business Barometer issued every month by CEMA (the European association representing the agricultural machinery industry). “Nobody knew how much the virus would hit agricultural engineering companies and agricultural equipment markets. When it soon became clear that the agricultural technology business was continuing to be stable, the mood brightened just as quickly. In September, the industry is actually seeing slightly higher sales compared to the same time last year.”

“The tractor market in Germany is pleasingly stable in the Corona Year of 2020. From January to August 2020, there were a total of 21,219 new tractor registrations. That’s almost 6% more than in the same period last year. Farmers and contractors will not be perturbed and are making decent investments in new machinery

Fendt continued to expand on its leading market position in the first 8 months. Fendt has the top spot by far, with 23.3% of the market share from 0 hp and 28.4% from 51 hp. And of course we are delighted to have further improved on our excellent position of the last several years when it comes to large tractors. In the power range of more than 200 hp, Fendt ranks first with 40.1% of the market share. From 400 hp, almost every second tractor is a Fendt from the 900 or 1000 Vario series. We are very pleased about the increasing acceptance among contractors and large farms”, said a happy Gröblinghoff, stressing that “even in times of crisis, the remote purchases being made are all down to long-standing trusting relationships between Fendt sales partners, Fendt customers and Fendt as manufacturers”.

“Tractor markets in Europe vary in their development”, confirmed Gröblinghoff, saying his focus is on the regions in Western, Central and Eastern Europe that are important for Fendt in the AGCO region of EME (Europe, Middle East). He said he was discounting the markets of Turkey, the Middle East and Algeria, because they mainly want small machines that Fendt does not offer. “There are markets in Europe with increasing or stable volumes such as in Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Poland and Austria. But there are also volume markets with double-digit market declines in some cases. This includes France, Italy, UK, Spain, Norway, Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania. Overall, we expect a market decline in Europe of about 6% – from 171,000 in 2019 to about 160,000 units in 2020.”