Utility Tractors Fit to Customers

November 19, 2008 06:00 PM

John Deere expands lineup to match market segments

The lineup of utility tractors from John Deere features a wide scope of models that are specifically designed and engineered for different customer segments.
When John Deere introduced its newest utility tractors, the company also showed how it has changed its approach to selling this range of tractors.
In total, John Deere makes 32 models ranging from 32 engine horsepower to 140 engine horsepower. The scope is vast, but the tractors aren't "one size fits all.”
The company is trying to appeal to new customer groups. To do so, it is matching models to the needs of small-scale farmers, property owners and government and educational entities while serving traditional farmer-customers.
"We recognize a significant number of U.S. farms fit into the category of small-acre farms, which we consider less than 600 acres or 400 head of cattle or less,” says Larry Christenson, director of tactical marketing.
He says John Deere will leverage its breadth of service at its dealerships: credit, service and maintenance, support, financing and merchandise. Dealers may also have other advantages.
"The ruralpolitan or rural lifestyle group is usually two to three generations removed from ag,” says Denny Docherty, marketing director, commercial and consumer markets. "They seek out a trusted brand, local solutions and a local adviser.”
He says that John Deere dealers have been in the middle of this segment for some time. "Our dealers have served the farmers who sold that land to these new customers,” Docherty says. "And our dealers can provide the credit, equipment, services and expertise, retail locations and property maintenance supplies for this group.”
The 5 Series includes multiple specification levels, many at price points that John Deere wasn't able to hit before.
"These tractors balance targeting our traditional customers with targeting a customer we previously may not have appealed to,” explains Rex Edmunds, product manager. "Our models now overlap in terms of horsepower, and the dealer has to fit his customer into a particular tractor.”
New numbers. Earlier this year, John Deere began a new model numbering system, with a letter to designate specification level. For example, some 5E Limited models overlap in horsepower range with 5M models. Models in the 5E Limited Series are available in only one configuration but offer many standard features for lower price points.

However, 5M Series tractors are more suited for traditional John Deere customers.
It's not just the 5 Series that is taking aim at new markets. 
"The 6D Series is about a new road to a segment of the market: part-time farmers, property owners and public institutions,” says Don Worner, product marketing manager. "The 6D Series is not targeted for traditional John Deere customers.”
John Deere is extending its reach with the 6140D, a standalone tractor in its horsepower range, pricing and mechanical features. As the market for utility tractors changes and shifts, expect John Deere to expand and specialize its offerings.

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