LS Tractor is introducing tractors this summer that feature its own Tier 4 engines.
LS Tractor USA recently received the North American Equipment Dealers Assn.’s Dealer’s Choice Award for tractor manufacturers, a noteworthy accomplishment since U.S. operations were just established in 2009. Chief Executive Officer Deryk Johannes credits four main reasons for why he thinks dealers recognized the company: Quick delivery of inventory; tractors that deliver more value; unique marketing support, and lean management.
“Beginning in 2009, we wanted to provide exceptional dealer satisfaction. Dealers are saying that we are delivering on this,” Johannes says. “In our view, our business doesn’t stop when we deliver to the dealer. It isn’t complete until the products have been retailed.”
Johannes says dealers’ lots have to be full to make sales, but they don’t push inventory onto dealers. “We can replenish inventory within 7-10 days. We are flexible. And if there are certain models that aren’t moving, we move models around the country to help our dealers.”
He says dealers will have more to offer customers, with 30 new Tier 4 compliant models now being introduced. The tractors will feature LS Tractor’s own engines that are now being manufactured at its South Korea-based engine plant that opened last year.
Deryk Johannes is chief executive officer of LS Tractor USA.
“With our new world-class engine plant, our ability to remain competitive in the future is greatly enhanced,” Johannes says. Remaining competitive includes adding products and dealers. The current lineup includes tractors in the 25-97 horsepower range and he says subcompact models are now being developed. Also, the company has expanded its offerings in the 50 and 55 horsepower range and now offers hydrostatic as well as fully synchronized, shuttle shift transmissions.
Johannes says LS Tractor supports a tractor sale all the way through to the customer through unique marketing programs. “We offer aggressive co-op advertising programs, as well as innovative marketing support programs that eliminate rebate processing time and offer cash reimbursement for warranties rather than credits,” he says. “This helps with dealers’ cashflow and makes it easy to do business with us. Our programs are simple and consistent,” he says.
Johannes admits that dealers did have to overcome the lack of brand recognition in the U.S., but that has changed. “Dealers used to have to answer questions like ‘Who is this brand?’ but now people are coming in and asking for LS,” he says. “Customers are doing more and more to educate themselves and are learning that buying an LS tractor is a smart decision. They get more value for their money because we offer a long list of features that come standard. When you combine our features and our price with a 5-year limited warranty, you end up with the best value in the category.”
Building the Dealer Network
LS Tractor USA received the 2015 Dealer’s Choice award for tractor manufacturers from the North American Equipment Dealers Assn. (NAEDA). LS Tractor Chief Executive Officer Deryk Johannes is shown with Rick Lawhun, president and CEO of NAEDA.
Johannes says the company’s network now includes about 300 dealers. “We’re actively seeking dealers throughout North America. There is plenty of geography to grow the LS Tractor business. We’re strong in the South and Southeast and are focusing on the Midwest, Northeast and the West Coast, but we don’t stack dealers on top of each other.
“The kind of dealer we’re looking for is committed to delivering an exceptional experience. We’re partnering with dealers who are financially sound and passionate about customer service. The quality and value of an LS Tractor combined with a dedicated customer-centric dealer network is a recipe for success,” Johannes says.
Johannes shares details about the LS Tractor’s growth in recent years. “The less than 100 horsepower market grew only 8% in 2014 and we grew over 40%. The first quarter of this year, we grew 27% in the less than 100 horsepower range while the market was flat,” he says.
Johannes says the company is ready to address any challenges ahead. “We’re an extremely lean organization. We have a staff of 44 here in the U.S. and are on a first-name basis with our dealers. Our decision-making is extremely quick,” he says.
He says dealers can be successful with a similar personalized approach to customer service. “Today, there are a lot of first-time buyers. We’re looking for dealers who enjoy helping customers make that first purchase, where it’s a pleasure and not a hassle,” Johannes says.