That and Other Big News from the 2014 Kubota Dealer Meeting in Nashville
In October, dealers, editors and Kubota Tractor Corp. officials mingled in Nashville for the company’s 2014 dealer meeting. Approximately 4,000 Kubota dealers and employees from the United States and Canada visited the opulent Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center October 12-16 for the unveiling of 90-plus new product introductions. Lots of rain and a mud-covered demo site couldn’t even damper the excitement around this historic meeting. The big news: Kubota announced it was set to compete in the agricultural crop industry with the highly anticipated M7-Series tractor line (a large Ag product we won’t cover in this magazine). The really big news for Compact Equipment: Kubota plans on releasing its first two skid steers to the construction market early next year.
“Kubota skid steers will be hitting dealer lots in 2015 — around the May/June timeframe,” explained John Ryan, construction equipment business development manager. “We’ll stay with our vertical-lift design just like our track machines, but we will expand the line later on. We’ll expand the line next year to include pilot controls. We’ll go from hand and foot control [which will be the only choice on new units now] to pilot control [options on later models], and then after that introduction, I see us expanding the line up and down the size range.”
It’s not just skid steers. Kubota will be expanding its machine offerings to establish a broader line of construction equipment in 2015 overall, including the new SSV65 and SSV75 skid steers, the company’s first entry into the skid steer market. Kubota, which already makes the engines for a lot of competitive skid steer models, is hoping to convince customers that the Kubota quality, reliability and performance that it engineers into its skid steer engines will transfer over to its skid steer units. Kubota is aiming to meet the needs of customers across the construction, rental and agriculture segments with features that include an innovative overhead front door, new multi-function handles for high-flow machines, two-speed standard, a side light feature and optional high-flow hydraulics. But with an already busy marketplace, what will make Kubota stand out in the skid steer arena?
“Our innovation, our engineering, our quality that you see in all of our products over all these years has carried over into our skid steer machines,” said Ryan. “Just look at our excavators and our track machines. They’re excellent and well-engineered machines, and we don’t have issues with them. With Kubota, you know what you’re getting from the ground up. And like you said, we already build the engines for everybody else — a lot of other manufacturers. No one provides us our engines. We build our own engines, and once again we’re moving onto building the entire machine.”
Kubota will also add all-new R30-Series wheel loaders, the R530 and R630, bringing more features and more power to Kubota’s wheel loader offering. The R530 is the most compact of the new R30 Series, and the R630 with four-mode HST is Kubota’s first entry into the 60- to 80-hp range, making all application needs possible. Kubota’s versatile R30-Series offers strength, comfort and superior operator benefits, said the company, each with a high-quality air conditioned cab, large entrance and operator’s space, good tipping load and each comes equipped with 100 percent on-demand differential lock and multifunction controller.
Kubota introduced a ton of other a unique machines we don’t typically cover in our market segments — like its M7-Series tractor line mentioned above, the Kubota Z700X-Series and Kubota Z122R zero-turn mowers and its Phase 2 Hay Tools, which alone will have 25 new products for 2015. The company also announced it had signed on as a sponsor of the 2015 tour of famed country music star Alan Jackson. The multi-platinum selling Grammy winner, fresh off playing the first of his two sold-out Artist-In-Residence shows at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s CMA Theater, made two special appearances at Kubota’s dealer meeting in Nashville. Everyone seemed excited about teaming up with one of country’s greatest troubadours.
“We are very excited to partner with Alan Jackson for his 25th Anniversary Tour,” said Buck Trawick, Kubota marketing director. “As a highly successful country superstar, and a Kubota tractor owner himself, we believe he is an excellent fit for our brand.”
Keith Gribbins is associate publisher of Compact Equipment, based in Brecksville, Ohio.