Following Kioti’s 2020 dealer meeting in December, Rural Lifestyle Dealer sat down with Greg Bibee, director of strategic sales and marketing, and Tim Phillips, national sales manager, to discuss Kioti’s new product introductions — including the NS Series of tractors, K92400 cab utility vehicles, CX2510CH tractor (factory cab), CS20 Series tractor field option cab and a new grapples series — as well as the company’s outlook for 2021 and plans for the dealer network in the year ahead.
Rural Lifestyle Dealer: How did 2020 turn out for Kioti?
Greg Bibee: "While the pandemic led to an incredibly challenging 2020 in countless ways, Kioti and our dealer network had a very successful year business-wise. The need for stay-at-home orders and social distancing accelerated the ongoing trend of people moving from urban to suburban and rural areas, and finding themselves in need of a compact tractor or utility vehicle. Additionally, many folks who may have been considering upgrading their tractor or utility vehicle in recent years were finally ready to make that purchase as they spent more time at home and weren’t spending their income on vacations and other costs that arise in a more typical year. As a result, a year that industry experts anticipated would be flat or downward trending actually saw growth of around 15% for compact utility tractors — with Kioti far outpacing that number."
RLD: What are Kioti’s expectations for business in 2021?
Bibee: "As various vaccines make incredible medical advances and will hopefully curtail the pandemic in the near future, Kioti fully expects these ongoing trends and the widespread shift toward hobby farming and self-sustaining lifestyles to continue. That’s why we’re bringing to market new products like our K92400 Cab utility vehicle, which delivers the ideal combination of power, efficiency and fun. We’re also introducing the CX2510CH, the latest addition to our popular CX tractor series that makes Kioti one of only a few manufacturers on the market offering a fully featured factory-installed cab in this chassis size. Plus, with our all-new NS Series of tractors, we will offer a roomy, powerful machine in the 45-60 horsepower range without some of the bells and whistles that can drive up the price tag.
“A year that industry experts anticipated would be flat or downward trending actually saw growth of around 15% for compact utility tractors — with Kioti far outpacing that number…” – Greg Bibee
"With these and other exciting new additions to the Kioti lineup coming to market in 2021, plus a continued increased demand for our products, we’re optimistic and looking forward to what the year ahead will bring."
RLD: What do you think made the biggest splash during the product introductions made at the dealer meeting in early December?
Bibee: "Our biggest news was our announcement that Kioti is entering the compact construction market with the introduction of a skid steer and compact track loader. This is our first entrance into the compact construction category. We were able to show our dealers a late stage prototype of the two units to dealers this year. We’ll probably be ready to start taking orders from dealers during the 2021 dealer meeting to have on their lots in 2022. A question a lot of people ask is, who is going to manufacture them. They will be Kioti products manufactured by us through our parent company Daedong. This is something dealers have been asking for and has been in the works for a long time. These two products are a natural next step for Kioti as our offerings continue to grow and provide an incredible opportunity for our dealers to better serve existing customers and to expand their customer base in the years ahead."
RLD: What have you heard from dealers about their biggest challenges?
Tim Phillips: "It’s no secret that across the entire industry, dealers faced inventory challenges throughout 2020. With a slowdown in production caused by the pandemic aligning with an increase in demand for compact tractors and utility vehicles, wait times for products inevitably went up. Despite this challenge, we heard from many dealers across the Kioti network that customers were understanding of the circumstances and willing to wait longer than usual for the right piece of equipment."
RLD: What is Kioti’s focus for growth – including in its dealer network – in 2021?
Phillips: "Kioti’s network of nearly 500 dealers across North America is the backbone of our company. Without our incredible dealers, Kioti would not have experienced the tremendous growth that is has over the past several years. During this time, Kioti has prioritized expanding our dealer network, and that effort will continue throughout 2021. We will also deepen our relationships with existing dealers, providing them with expanded product lines and professional development opportunities to sharpen their skills on both the business and technical sides of running a successful dealership.
"Beyond our dealer network, we’re eager to finalize the extensive real-world testing currently underway for our first-ever compact construction products announced at this month’s Kioti Dealer Meeting."
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