Buhler Resurrects Versatile Tractor Brand

Buhler Industries sets Versatile free as stand-alone tractor division.

There's a lot in a name. Particularly a name that spans 40 years and is a household word on farms around the globe. Versatile, a tractor that is simple, reliable and affordable, is now a tractor with a name – not tied to any other manufacturer.

Buhler Industries, Winnepeg, Manitoba, which has owned the Versatile name and, itself became an acquisition of Russia's Rostselmach Inc., a European giant in harvesting equipment in 2007, announced today it is taking the Versatile tractor back to its roots with a stand-alone brand – Versatile – and has replaced the two Buhler Genesis models 2180 and 2210 with a pair of brand new Versatiles, the V250 and V280 – both equipped with Tier III Cummins diesel engines.

Versatile's new V250 is a 250 hp front-wheel-assist tractor equipped with a Tier III Cummins diesel and user-friendly placement of filters, maintenance points and operator controls.

The announcement came in Winnipeg this morning with the roll out of the V250 and V280 to dealers who came to town expecting a pair of new Genesis models.

Adam Reid, Versatile Marketing Manager, said the return to the Versatile name and logo (A flying "V" reminiscent of the 1980s Versatile logo) made sense since the dealer organization handling Versatile branded tractors had always viewed themselves as selling Versatile tractors (regardless of who the current owner of the brand was), and farmers worldwide recognize the Versatile brand as a piece of equipment that is rugged, reliable and affordable.

Reid says the new Russian ownership has committed to putting the Versatile brand at the forefront and backing it up ith a renewed commitment to 24-hour parts availability throughout North America, a new dealer financing program through AgriCredit, a new Winnipeg-based Technical Manual and Customer Service department and the creation of a North American parts manager position to oversee the distribution of repair parts and service.

The new V280 is a 280 hp. replacement for the larger "Genesis" tractor in Versatile's lineup. The V250 and
V280 reflect the model numbering, based on horsepower, used on the rest of Versatile's 4WD tractors.

The move also completes an agreement with Cummins engines to power all of Versatile's line of tractors with the addition of QSC 8.3L engines in the V250 and V280 tractors which feature 250 and 280 horsepower, respectively, and boast 24-valve breathing technology, a high-pressure common rail fuel delivery system and up to 5-pulse computer controlled injection cycles to meet Tier III emission compliance. In addition the new powerplants also feature strengthened lower block skirts, computer controlled warm-up and load management, along with a turbocharger delivering after-cooled air to the intake for increased power and lugging capacity. The new engines, capable of 830 pounds feet , and 1,000 pounds feet of torque, respectively, show a fuel consumption graph that's nearly flat from 1500 RPM to 2200 RPM, and a power bulge that covers most of the operating range of rated horsepower.

In addition, the new models feature easy-to-access filters, batteries, cooling system and AC condensers, ergonomic cabs and easy-to-reach controls at the fingertips of operators.

Options include up to three hydraulic pumps rated at 50 gallons per minute and up.

The pricing for base models of the V250 and V280 are $165,000 and $172,000, respectively.

With Buhler Industries' recent announcement the Versatile tractor brand is a stand-alone unit within that company, all hyphens and other names have been dropped from the new logo for the popular brand of 4WD and front-wheel-assist tractors.

The move to the Versatile name makes Buhler's tractor division stand alone, but insiders say don't be surprised if you see a Versatile combine on the market by 2013 – based on the reliability, affordability, and repairability of Rostselmash Inc.'s, success in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, where the company enjoys an 80% market share of harvester business. Rostselmash owns 80% of Buhler and has installed Russian native Dmitry Lyubimov as president.

Eric Allison, Director of Sales told ag media members at a pre-launch meeting the Russian firm's influence has added a touch of "professionalism" the firm hasn't had before. For instance, he noted until 2007 the company had no technical manual function, no parts or service manager, and now the firm has all of those things in place, as well as a new financing program for dealers – all announced today at the V250 and V280 launch.

"We've been a great manufacturer of machinery," Allison noted, but "We're playing in the majors now, and we have to act like it. We can do that now with our young, aggressive Russian owners," he added.
In addition to the new engines and tractors, the company is also unveiling a new warranty program that covers tractors sold after November 1 with a three-year, 3000 hour warranty, including a standard two-year, 2000 hour warranty and an extra one-year, 1000-hour power-train warranty covering engine, transmission, axles and differentials.

Buhler industries will continue with its own line of Farm King, Allied and inland family of products.

The new V250 and V280 just entered production, and will be available to dealers for Spring 2009 delivery.

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