ArmaTrac range set for a Scottish launch
This year’s Royal Highland Show will be used as a sounding board both for farmer reaction and for signing new dealers for a brand of tractors being imported from Turkey.
The ArmaTrac range, from Ankara-based company Erkunt, is relatively new even in its own domain, but is from a business which has a long history of supplying major components to some of the most famous names in the ag machinery business.
As lady general manager, Zeynep Erkunt-Armagan, pointed out: “Our metal castings and machined products have been used for more than 60 years in tractors made by John Deere, Massey Ferguson, New Holland, Steyr, Same, JCB, Cummins and Valtra. It made sense for us to use this expertise to build our own tractor for the Turkish market.
“But, such has been the success of this – we are now No3 in our domestic market out of 39 manufacturers – we are looking at key export markets outwith eastern Europe. The sophistication of the UK market, where farmers respect value for money, has made this our main target,” she said.
Erkunt’s tractor division only started manufacturing in 2003, but has already built up a reputation for making robust, sensible small tractors.
It now builds somewhere in the region of 5000 units per year using major components featuring its own castings, like engines from Perkins and Deutz and transmissions and axles from ZF and Carraro.
The range covers from 50hp to 110hp, though plans are afoot to up this to 140hp within a year. Operating shifts, the plant is capable of producing up to 15,000 tractors per year.
“ArmaTrac tractors are designed, engineered and built with simplicity and efficiency in mind,” said Mrs Erkunt-Armagan. “We have gained a reputation for listening to farmers’ needs and applying this through our innovation and development programme.
“Our simplicity of engineering, for instance, has resulted in ArmaTracs gaining a following for exceptional fuel economy,” she added.
The company has 40 variants in its home market, but UK buyers will see this sifted down to a handful of machines deemed appropriate to UK needs. Three workhorse tractors for the livestock market will be rated at 90, 100 and 110hp, with a range of robust dedicated loaders being sourced from a Turkish manufacturer to fit them.
Smaller down the tree, the 50 and 60 hp models look to be ideal for Scotland’s fruit and veg producers. All will have four-wheel-drive.
Transmission options from ZF or Carraro, offer 16 x 16 gearing, with power shift and forward/reverse shuttle on the two bigger machines, the 1104 (110hp) and 1004 (100hp). Four different pto speeds are available, 430, 540, 750 which can also be run in fuel economy mode at 540, and 1000rpm which has a 750rpm economy mode.
An electronically controlled hydraulic system has 5000kg of lift at the Cat 2 linkage, powered by a 60 litres per minute pump and four external valves. A pick-up hitch is standard for the UK.
At the moment, a choice of either a Perkins or a Deutz power unit can be specified, though when the tractors start to come in to the UK for sale, sometime later this autumn, it may be that only one engine maker will be specified.
“We have opted to fit engines that comply with the stricter Tier 3b EU regulations. We do not want to compromise the quality of the tractor that we will be offering in the UK, even though the cost of a Tier 3b engine is almost double that of a 3a,” said Mrs Erkunt-Armagan.
One of the big selling points is ArmaTrac’s dustproof, ergonomic, two-door, luxury cab which lives up to the marketing hype as a high vis’ unit, with exceptional views both up front and aft. Air-conditioning options and a height and tilt adjustable steering column for driver comfort are available. External hydraulic lift and pto control buttons are also fitted.
Kevin Brewer, the importer for the UK, says reaction at frt he Highland will be key to haping what models will be available and where dealers will be located. “We hope to appoint at least six dealers this year, with a similar number planned for next year.”
“The kind of farmer that the Armatrac range will appeal to, will be those who require a tough, no-nonsense machine that will do a job and that will last, without pieces coming off in his hand while he’s doing that job,” he added.
On show at the Highland will be three models – the top of the range 1104 Lux, a 904e (with the e denoting a Carraro gearbox and for economy) fitted with a loader, and a 504 model representing the smallest of the range.
At the moment, prices have not been fixed but look likely to range from £20,000 to £40k.
He stressed that these are not cheap-and-cheerful tractors. “They have a good build quality and will be pitched in the mid-price market,” he said, adding that other western European countries are also in ArmaTrac’s expansion plans.