CHENNAI (TIP): The Porsche brand is no stranger to Indian roads but is commonly associated with luxury cars and SUVs. Now an Indian tractor major – Escorts – will roll out a range of top-ofthe- line tractors designed by the famed Porsche design house. Escorts said its new range of under-development tractors will be rolled out in export markets like Europe.

However, the company is tightlipped about the timeline as well as investments pumped into this hush-hush project. Said S Sridhar, CEO, Escorts agri machinery business: “We are developing a product targeting the mid to top end of the European market. We are using the services of Porsche as a design house and they are working with us exclusively. This is the first time they will be designing a tractor for an Indian company.” Escorts has already tied up with the Ferrari brand to introduce high-end luxury tractors in India and discussions are on with them about local assembly as well.

Luxury brand Porsche used to have its own tractor portfolio when it first started out. The first blue print of the Porsche tractor was created in the 1930s but after the war Mannesmann AG decided to license Porsche’s complete tractors in 1956 and began production. Between 1956 and 1963, when the license agreement ended, over 125,000 Porsche tractors were produced and sold. Escorts’ designed-by-Porsche tractor platform will be a critical part of the company’s export plans.

“Right now we use our top-end models in the 50hp-plus category and pitch them as value products in Europe,” said Sridhar. “The bottom-of-the-pyramid segment comprises 15% of the European market so in volume terms it is not the biggest chunk but the margins are better.” The company, whose Farmtrac Heritage tractor is currently being homologated for a German and Polish debut, wants to take its export strategy to the next level riding on its existing range and on Farmtrac Heritage.

“Farmtrac Heritage was displayed in Hanovar last year and we rolled it out in South Africa in May and in Bangladesh last week. Once the homologation certificate comes in, it will be available in Germany and Poland as well as South Africa and Bangladesh,” he added. Escorts is already exporting around 2,000 units a year to 30-odd countries. “We now enjoy 12% market share in India in the 50 hp-plus segment and we are adapting those same products for the bottom-end of the European market,” said Sridhar.

Next on the agenda are other markets in Europe and Africa and of course Asean including countries like Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. Exports currently comprise a topline of Rs 200 crore for the company but by next fisc the target is to double the pickings in volume terms. Currently exports comprise around 7-8% of the total Indian tractor market which is the largest in the world in volume terms.

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