Sonalika-Yanmar Eyeing The Premium Segment Of Tractor Market

Interaction September 2019 Sonalika-Yanmar Premium Segment Tractor Market

A third of the SIT plant’s total annual capacity of 300,000 units will be dedicated to produce Solis and Yanmar range of tractors; 'Smart Assist Remote' on the YM3 tractor banks on GPS and communication terminal to derive most out of the product

Buoyed by a fruitful decade-long partnership serving diversified markets across the globe, Sonalika International Tractors Ltd (SIT) and Yanmar Holdings Company Ltd (YHC) have now announced their joint entry into the Indian market, with a focus to put in place a separate network for its premium tractor product portfolio under Solis and Yanmar range. In a recent interaction with Auto Tech Review, Raman Mittal, Executive Director, SIT (Above) and Ken Oyukama, Director, Yanmar Holdings Company (Below) spoke about the company’s plans to develop a distinct identity for its premium product portfolio.

MATURING MARKET

SIT has been manufacturing its Solis range of tractors (20-120 hp) at its Hoshiarpur facility largely to cater to its export market requirements. The company will gradually roll out the Solis range (20-120 hp) for the Indian market, followed by the Yanmar range of tractors (25-60 hp) from a dedicated assembly line at its Hoshiarpur plant. The company believes the Indian market is maturing fast, and is actively looking out for advanced technologies. Currently, the company is present in 120 countries.

One third of the plant’s total annual capacity of 300,000 units will be dedicated to produce the Solis and Yanmar range of tractors. Moreover, the company has drawn up plans to launch 40 more models and 80 more variants in the Indian market over the next one year.

The Solis-Yanmar range is designed with high ground clearance and fully sealed four-wheel drive technology that ensures hassle-free operations. The turn plus axle of the Solis-Yanmar range offers flexibility owing to shorter turning radius for easy manoeuvrability in puddling and heavy duty applications. The tractor range is also equipped with express transmission speeds, which when used with rotavator, will require 50 % lesser water against the tractors deployed with full cage wheels.

The range will be equipped with E3 engine curve that is mated to transmissions in varied options – 12+12, 10+5, 12+4 with easy shift speed plus gearbox feature that is a standard across variants. SIT is currently focussing on 40 hp tractors and beyond with the new range, as Mittal sees market demand owing to rising urbanisation and land consolidation in the country. The range will also offer select hydraulic controls with digits and knobs for better controlling of varied operations, as per the conditions. The tractor hitch can be automatically lowered or raised to facilitate easy mounting and dismounting of implements to save time and increase productivity. On the design side, the Solis-Yanmar range will be available with projection headlamps and daytime running lights.

GETTING FUTURE READY

Yanmar has also introduced Smart Assist Remote for construction as well as farm equipment internationally. The ‘Smart Assist Remote’ on the YM3 tractor banks on GPS and communication terminal to derive the most out of the product. The YM3 is also equipped with Yanmar’s other advanced technology for precision and efficiency to deliver more profitable agriculture.

It collects extensive data of real-time operating conditions to optimise and protect equipment from vehicle misuse. Yanmar had recently demonstrated the use of its precision location technology in autonomous agricultural equipment with its Robot Tractor in Thailand to draw attention to the labour-saving potential of autonomous technologies in agriculture. The robot tractor is capable of unmanned driving and operating under the surveillance of an operator. Such technologies will be rolled out in India as and when the country will be geared up to adopt and capitalise on such-analysis-based advancements, said Oyukama.

Having gained considerable experience as an exporter of heavy duty tractors from India, SIT is closely working with Yanmar and all its partners to develop cost-optimised solutions for the Indian farm equipment market that will move on to new emission norms next year. Mittal said SIT has been exporting CRDi engines for almost three years now, which does provide it a head start over its competitors as well as an opportunity to optimise costs. Adoption of the new age technology will increase prices by 8-10 % for the Solis range and 12-15 % for the Yanmar range, Mittal said.

ROUND-UP

The joint entry of Sonalika and Yanmar has come at a juncture when dipping sales are a matter of huge concern in the farm equipment market, as the Indian tractor market has plunged by 14.3 % in Q1 FY20 to reach 191,305 units, as per data from the Tractor Manufacturers Association (TMA). Although the slowdown is claimed to be cyclical in nature, the government‘s thrust on doubling farmer‘s income by 2022 coupled with recovering monsoon will push up tractor demand. Staying bullish on the Indian agriculture market, the partnership aims to clock sales of 50,000 tractors over the next five years and set-up 400 dealerships within a two-year time frame. As for the future, SIT is also developing varied models – micro-hybrid, mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid – that will be launched based on customer feedback.

TEXT: Anirudh Raheja