Kubota 2018 new product introductions
We're back now from the Annual Kubota Dealer Meeting. This is the time of year here every October where a big meeting is held for the introduction of new products, new business initiatives, and those kinds of things. This year it was held in Phoenix, Arizona. A nice hot location for a cool time of year.
If you guys have ever had a chance to go to a big corporate tradeshow like this, it is an impressive very, very well done event. Really wish it could be open to the public in some ways because if you're into tractors, equipment and that kind of stuff, it's definitely a place that you would really enjoy being. A lot of really nicely done displays and a lot of really cool information.
It could take a minute here. We'll rattle through a couple of the new products for this year and give you a little bit of overview of what's in the pipeline. As years go, this is a little bit lighter year in terms of the new products that are being offered.
Start at the beginning here with the T Series Tractors. T Series is Kubota’s a little lawn tractor series. A good quality product but priced at the upper end of the market.
We tend to sell a handful of these every year but not something you do a whole lot of volume of, but they took a bunch of different improvements to this tractor now. The new one has an electronic PTO clutch on it, a nicer heavier mower deck, dual [sic] attachments and stuff, to update and bring the T Series up to where some other products are in the marketplace.
Another new piece in that lawn equipment series is the new push mower. This is a heavy-duty push mower. This is not a little 2.99 box store special. This is meant for commercial landscapers, demanding users and those kinds of people who are looking for something that's very, very high quality.
This will be a $12-1,400 piece depending on whether it has a blade clutch on it or not, but it is a push mower that is really made to last a lifetime. Not an expensive piece, but believe it or not Kubota made something like these years ago and there's still a bunch of them out there and guys have been asking for one of these things.
Over in the construction series, there's an upgrade to one excavator, the U25 is now becoming a U27. Most of the improvements seem to be in modernization of the cab, foot room. This is one that I wasn't expecting to be overwhelmed by the improvements but sitting on the machine, there were a lot of nice changes to it. It felt great. The hydraulic flow out the auxiliaries is also adjustable, which is unique and surprising in a small machine like this. That was cool.
The KXO33 gets an extendable dipper option now, so that you can extend the dipper out to approximately a three feet, so that the thing is going to come out to give you additional dig depth. It gives the thing reaching performance in the neighborhood of the KXO40 but stays on the lighter end. This is an important size [sic] machine for trailering.
Typically, it's the biggest machine that you can get on a 10,000 pound trailer, so you could still be on a light trailer you do not need a CDL but have that extra reach that you would typically want out of a larger machine. Some improvements there.
The Kubota also had a bunch of tractors here at the show that were introduced earlier in the year, but this is the first time for a lot of us that we're actually seeing them in the flesh. It's more specialty tractors coming back into the lineup now. That may have fallen off because of the time that it takes to work through emissions changes.
The high clearance tractor would have been called a Mudder in the past. They're calling it high clearance now. Really reflect the verbiage that people typically are using. Really impressive cool-looking machine, if you've ever seen these before. Typically they're used in vegetable crops spraying, high clearance that kind of thing. I've actually only ever sold one here out of our dealership before and it was to a vegetable operation.
There's an additional now M6 low profile tractor. We had an M5 low profile before. Now there's a little bit bigger, a little bit larger machine. A small difference in my eye, almost sitting them side-by-side, you'd have to look really closely to notice the differences.
A year or two ago narrow tractors and cab versions came out. We now have ROPS versions of those available now as well. Again, became available for ordering earlier this year but we're seeing them in the flesh here now for the first time.
Hay tools, the only new thing there is this wheel rake. This was a cool piece. Actually, I was pretty surprised by that. This would be one of the first new pieces that we're seeing out of the Land Pride acquisition. This is a wheel rake that's actually being built in Great Plains Factory. It is a new piece. It's not something that was floating around in Land Pride’s product catalog before.
The most significant piece out at this meeting for us is the new RTV, what they're calling the Sidekick. This is a more a high performance-oriented product than what the current utility vehicles are. The current RTVs are amazing machines. We sell a lot of them. It's a very, very heavy-duty product really made for contractors, farmers, guys with heavy-duty applications that are looking for a machine for work. Sporting a hydrostatic transmission which is something really unique in the marketplace.
The one place that we really weren't able to sell those machines, were to guys that were looking for a little bit more in terms of performance. So Kubota is now taking the same chassis from the RTV and fitting it out with more performance-oriented parts. This is getting a 48 horsepower engine now, a sport-tuned suspension, electronic power steering, a CVT Plus transmission to give a lot more speed off the line.
It accelerates very, very quickly. It hits 40 miles an hour and likely is electronically limited there, would be my guess. It's going to have all the safety requirements required for a machine that goes that speed. I was impressed frankly by it. It drove really, really nice. The chassis of the RTV seems well accepted [sic]. It's a nice big comfortable machine.
The only thing to me that felt a little bit odd was the power steering. The electronic power steering is the same kind of setup that's used by a lot of different companies. It’s just not something that I had ever been on before and it does feel different than the hydraulic power steering that's used on the other RTVs.
The one neat thing about that electronic system is that the sensitivity of the steering will vary by your speed, so at low speed there's a lot of electronic assist to make it very easy to turn but as you speed up the steering tightens up to keep the machine from wobbling back and forth and tracking in a straight line. That was neat and actually worked really well. We're excited for that.
That'd be a great new product and I believe should start to arrive here around January, so you can look for some more videos from us on that. That was it for the US. There were two cool pieces here that I did take pictures of because I thought they were neat but they're going to the Canadian market and aren't going to be available here in the US and that's more.
That's most of what we had the opportunity to see here this year. You'll see videos on more of this stuff as it starts to arrive at our dealership here throughout the year. Catch you guys later.