Farmer Iron

Equipment Availability and Brand Loyalty Collide

For years in the equipment industry there's talk that the average farmer is no longer as brand loyal as they might h...

For years in the equipment industry there's talk that the average farmer is no longer as brand loyal as they might have been in the past. Instead, you're a more "dealer loyal" crowd interested as much in the after-sale service as in the equipment itself. If there was ever a time that theory (or reality) will be tested, it's now.

 

The rapid run-up in equipment demand has altered how you buy. First, dealers may offer great financing incentives with interest waivers and such, but you might not get any discount to the suggested list price. Second, you might not even be able to find a piece of equipment you need (although that may be different depending on where you farm).

 

For the dealer that can get the equipment - no matter the color - there may be an opportunity to grab business away from a rival dealership down the road. But are farmers less brand loyal? It's a question I've often asked. I know of farmer friends who have added a different-color machine to their fleets. Yet, sometimes there's the worry about what the neighbors might think if a guy does do a color change.

 

From where I sit, comfortable in an editor's office without a farm to run, it's clear to me that in the past 15 years the level of technology and equipment quality offered by all the major players has risen. The productivity of all brands has risen, and the playing field is extremely level. Brand loyalty still has its role, but for the farmer looking for a dependable 200 horsepower tractor with a range of features, there are several brands that can fill that order.

 

If it comes down to the dealership, there will be a lot of pressure there. Companies will want those stores to step up to meet customer needs. You, as a customer, will demand a higher level of service. In the end, no matter how this shakes out, the customer can be the winner with constantly improving equipment coming to market. And that always-better equipment serviced by an increasingly more service-oriented dealership.

 

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