The ArmaTrac tractor range from Turkish company Erkunt, may be relatively new to the market but its Scottish dealer, AS Tractors, based in Aberdeenshire, has become one of the go-to dealerships for those looking to source a robust, affordable and easy-to-use tractor. Katrina McCarthur reports.
Company director, Douglas Bain, who moved from Perthshire to Oldmeldrum more than 40 years ago, has always had a passion for selling products, particularly agricultural related machines and equipment.
As well as being a mechanic by trade and a salesman for second-hand tractors and flatpack storage containers, Douglas and his family also run a bus and taxi firm known as Bain’s Coaches.
It was at the brand’s UK launch at Lamma in 2013, when Douglas first came across ArmaTrac and soon after was appointed the dealership for the franchise in 2015. Due to an expansion in sales across Scotland, AS Tractors recently opened an additional outlet at Stirling which is managed by Central Scotland salesman, John Craig.
“ArmaTrac tractors are low maintenance machines which are simple to use and they have very little electrics in them,” explains Douglas, who also employs his son, Kristopher Bain, as the company’s sales manager, and Dean Wright, as a maintenance technician and salesman.
“One of the biggest attractions for our customers is the use of well-known components such as engines from Perkins and transmissions and axles from ZF.
“Many of our tractors are sold to small-scale farmers which require an easy tractor to do quick, everyday jobs so the fact that they do not include lots of computer screens and buttons makes the brand more appealing to them,” he adds.
Admittedly, sales were slow going in the first 18 months but with determination, hard work and continual promotion, Douglas and the team have now sold a total of 18 tractors. Impressively, the company sold five tractors in the first eight weeks of this year.
“I was always fairly confident that ArmaTrac would do well for us but it takes time for people to gain trust in a new brand,” comments Douglas. “I always like a challenge and I was sure there would be a market for these tractors in Scotland, whether it be large-scale farmers looking for a smaller tractor to do basic jobs around the farm or hobby or fruit farmers.”
He also points out how promoting ArmaTrac tractors at local and national events is vital in increasing market share. “It is encouraging being able to sell five tractors in such a small period of time, especially at the beginning of a new year but it has likely been a spin off from Lamma, which attracts a huge number of potential customers each year,” says Douglas.
“We do attend the Royal Highland Show and local shows such as the Royal Northern Spring Show, the Black Isle and Keith. If you do not attend these shows with a stand displaying your best machines, you are out the picture and the competitors will be in before you.”
While the original models have sold well for AS Tractors, the team is looking forward to the release of the new ArmaTrac 1254 Lux CRD4 in April. Having made its UK debut at Lamma in January, this new model has a boost in power of 125hp which Douglas hopes will attract customers.
Buyers will have the option of the new model to be powered by a quiet Deutz engine, rather than the usual Perkins engine, which the team at AS Tractors hope will be another big attraction.
Dean, who is also a mechanic to the trade, comments that the ArmaTrac 512 fruit tractors (available in 2wd and 4wd, with or without cab) have also proved popular. He says; “These tractors have a narrow chassis and are ideal for fruit farms being the correct size for going up and down dreels. There is also the option to use them as a scraper tractor or for general yard jobs.”
As for what the future holds, Douglas remains fairly optimistic with the uncertainty surrounding Brexit. “If anything, Brexit could pull this country closer together and the UK will hopefully hold onto its own products better.”