Kubota recently announced its largest tractor to date, the M8 series, described as its breakthrough tractor at 190 and 210 horsepower. The new series is targeted at livestock and dairy operations, but does have capabilities for row-crop operations, says Todd Stucke, Kubota’s senior vice president, marketing, product support and strategic projects.
Todd Stucke is Kubota’s Senior Vice President, Marketing, Product Support & Strategic Projects.
The series was developed as part of its customized OEM agreement with Buhler Industries. Stucke says the M8 is a “big brother” to the M7 Gen 2 series (100-140 PTO horsepower), which was announced earlier this year. The M8 series was built to Kubota’s designs and specifications and is not a rebranded version of a Buhler offering, he says.
Dealers that currently serve the livestock and dairy markets will be among the first to carry the M8. “We are focusing first on the markets with the largest opportunities and, over time, if a dealer feels they have a market and want to stock it, they will go through the training and will need to meet parts stocking and product support requirements before taking on the line,” he says.
What does Kubota’s tractor strategy look like going forward for production ag as well as the compact segment? “We are continuing to evaluate as we go forward, but for now this is the top end. Our core tractor business is the small tractor segment and we are continuing to do product development to round out that segment. We are 100% focused on the small tractor segment,” Stucke says.
Stucke says features available now for higher horsepower tractors, such as more comfortable cabs, are starting to move into the lower ranges. Other technology, such as precision guidance or telematics, is possible. “We do see a market for the small tractor in applying technology to make the customer experience more pleasant and to make the tractor more efficient and add value. We are constantly studying to make sure the technology would add value, not just cost,” he says.
The upcoming GIE+Expo is the next launch opportunity for the rural equipment market and Stucke says they will continue to round out both commercial and residential offerings.
The company recently announced plans to invest more than $85 million in a site near the company's current manufacturing facilities in Gainesville-Hall County, Georgia, to establish a new engineering and design center. The facility will focus on the OPE market, including turf equipment, utility vehicles, attachments and specialty products.
“The North American market is the largest market globally for the OPE segment. We wanted to move R&D closer to the market and closer to our factories in Georgia,” Stucke says.
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