NASHVILLE, TENN. – Think of the brands that you recognize in a flash – Coca Cola, McDonalds, Apple.
Kubota Tractor Corporation (KTC) promised its 1100 dealers that it is making the commitment and investing heavily to occupy similar mind space with U.S. consumers when it comes to power equipment. Top KTC executives made the promise at its recent "A New Era" National Dealer Meeting at the Opryland Hotel here. More than 4,000 dealers and Kubota employees attended the multi-day event. KTC backed up its branding promise at the event by unrolling dozens of new or improved products. The sheer volume of new products introduced at the gathering gave credence to the "historic" label that KTC executives attached to the mid-October dealer meeting.
"This is one of the largest introductions of Kubota-branded products in our company’s history, including significant additions and enhancements to our turf, agriculture and construction segments," said Todd Stucke, Kubota vice president.
Z700X Series zeros now available with Kawasaki engines
Of special interest to landscape contractors, KTC rolled out three new models of its Z700X Series zero-turns – Z724X-48, Z724X-54 and Z724X-60 – powered with Kawasaki FX engines. Each model features a Parker TorqPact GT 14 Transmisson and a 7-gauge steel 48-, 54- or 60-inch deck six inches deep. The three new models are an extension of Kubota’s entry into the commercial mowing market in 2013 when it introduced the Z700X Series models powered with Kohler engines, which remain available along with the new Kawasaki-powered models.
The new Z700X Series is the second introduction of new commercial mowers by KTC in 2014. This past May, the company announced the ZD326H, its newly designed 72-inch commercial mower powered by a 26-hp Kubota liquid-cooled diesel engine. That introduction, along with several "orange" prototype mowers (a stand-on and a walk-behind) on the show floor of the dealer meeting more than suggests that Kubota has bigger designs on the commercial segment of the mowing market.
Under $4,000 consumer Z122R model
In the consumer mowing segment KTC is counting on its new Kubota Z122R Kommander residential zero-turn mower to be a big hit at its dealers’ stores. The new Kommander, with a 42-inch mower deck, may also prove popular with beginning landscapers based on its clean appearance, Kubota engineering and its below-$4,000 price tag. The Z122R Kommander features a one-piece tubular steel frame, zero grease points and is powered with a 21.5-hp Kawasaki FR engine.
KTC enters skid steer space
Landscape contractors offering installation, construction and design/build services should be aware that KTC is entering the skid steer market in 2015 with its new SSV65 and SSV75 skid steers. Each of these models, with an overhead front door, features 2-speed travel and optional high-flow hydraulics.
Also new from Kubota in 2015 is its R30-Series Wheel Loaders, the R530 and R630. The R530 is the most compact of the new R30 Series and the R630 with 4-mode HST is Kubota’s first entry into the 60-80 horsepower range.
Kubota managers emphasized that the R30 Series offers "strength, comfort and superior operator comforts, such as an air conditioned cab, large entrance and operator’s space. Each comes equipped with 100 percent on-demand differential lock and multifunction controller.
KTC’s new product introductions into the commercial mowing and construction industries took somewhat of a backseat, at least in terms new products, to the agricultural market.
Lots of new products for ag market
The M7-Series tractor line highlighted Kubota’s agricultural new product cavalcade of introductions. KTC showed three new mid-range tractors in the 130-170 horsepower range. The new tractors are aimed at the commercial livestock and row crop production markets. Production of the M7 Series will begin in the second half of 2015 at Kubota’s newly constructed machinery plant in France.
The new mid-range new tractors are being complimented with Kubota’s Phase 2 Hay Tools with up to 25 new products, including round balers, trailed disc mowers, bale wrappers, rakes and tedders.
Kubota introduced its first tractor to the United States in 1969. The 21-hp L200, compact tractor was an instant hit in the U.S. market. That success led to the establishment of KTC, headquartered in Torrance, California. In 1974 KTC introduced its first 12-hp 4-wheel-drive tractor, another first in the compact tractor category.
Over the past four decades KTC has continued to expand its tractor line, as well as manufacturing and offering compact construction equipment, compact track loaders, turf equipment, utility vehicles, and lawn and garden equipment.
"We are a compact tractor and utility company, and we will do everything we can to protect and invest in that market, even as we go after new markets" said Greg Embury, Senior VP/Marketing & Dealer Development.
"Many of our introductions will be real game changers for our dealers and for the industry as a whole," added KTC’s Stucke. "This year’s dealer meeting marks an important moment in time for Kubota."
Kubota sees its new tag line "For Earth, For Life" as a key component in enhancing the visibility and value of its brand across the U.S. landscape, construction, agriculture and consumer lawn and garden markets.