Imported Tractors

While a lot of people are not familiar with brands like Yanmar, Hinimoto, Mitsubishi, Shibura, and Iseki, these imported tractor manufacturers have a long and impressive history. Yanmar, founded in 1912, was the forerunner in the compact diesel engine market. Designing their first diesel engine in 1930 and built the worlds first small horizontal diesel engine in 1933.

By 1986 Yanmar had shipped over 100,000 tractors to John Deere alone. Yanmar continues to build the compact tractors for John Deere. In fact, the newer John Deere tractors even brag that they have Yanmar diesel engines in them. John Deere quality at an affordable price! It is not unusual, in fact, to find a comparable, used Yanmar for less than 1/2 the cost of a used Deere. Why pay more when they are made by the same company?

The other imported tractor manufacturers, Hinimoto, Iseki, Shibura, and Mitsubishi, but most, if not all, of the compact tractors for Cub Cadet, Ford, Massey, Allis, and Case. Most of the imported compact tractors that we sell have a nearly identical American model. All of the compact tractors that we sell go through a complete inspection. We check the tractor for any, leaks, check the belts and hoses, and make sure that everything is working the way it should.

Worried about getting parts? Yanmar, and most of the others, have been around about as long as there have been tractors. They are here to stay. The parts are usually about as easy to get as parts for any other tractor.

The majority of the compact tractors in this country originate in either Japan, China, or Korea. Our primary source is Japan. In Japan there are many small farms, each having a tractor. These tractors are used primarily for the purpose of rototilling.

Used Japanese tractors tend to have little wear. Rototiller operations are very easy on machinery. You can only rototill a field so much as it is growing crops most of the time. The engine and drive train are operated at a constant rpm and constant load hence these tractors have been used well within their design capabilities. Typically the only signs of age are cosmetic from sun and weather. The basic “guts” of the tractor have very little wear. This is in contrast to tractors used in the U.S. where typically they are used as multi-purpose units and many times with a front end loader. This, and the fact that U.S. operators will many times attempt to exceed the design capabilities of their compact tractors can lead to a shortened service life. This is why, in many cases, the tractor used in Japan is the desired tractor to purchase!

Due to cultural and financial incentives, Japanese farmers tend to get new tractors well before their current tractors are used very much. Tractors that are considered used in Japan have little value in the Japanese market. U.S. buyers on the other hand, prefer to purchase a good used tractor. In fact we will boast of how we were able to obtain a good deal on a used tractor. Hence there is a large demand for used tractors.

Unlike automobiles, tractors in North America do not change hands very much. Many times it seems like the purchase of a tractor is a lifetime purchase. Just like the acreage it was purchased for. Because there is a shortage of used tractors in the U.S., used tractors from Japan are very desirable.

We do something totally unique and cutting edge in this already unique niche market. You may see other companies selling used tractors from Japan. Some that are “checked out” and sold basically “as is.” Our tractors are reconditioned in North America. We have discovered that even though the tractors from Japan are generally low time and in great basic mechanical condition there are a lot of minor things that need to be taken care of. When we go through almost the entire tractor we can be confident of a standardized product. What is easy for us to fix in a factory environment is a pain to deal with for the end user.

Buy with confidence. Big Red’s Equipment is a full service business. With a knowledgeable parts department and service center trained on the workings of your compact tractor. Unlike others selling tractors on the side of the highway, we stand behind every purchase. Your tractor will come complete with top link, pins, clips, etc. ready to work. When purchasing our tractors you get a complete product with quality and a sales person with the knowledge of your product. We offer our tractors in two versions: fully reconditioned and “Grade-A” non-reconditioned tractors.

Though many folks throw around the term “grey

Though many folks throw around the term “grey market” or “gray market” quite a bit these days, especially in regard to the import and sale of used compact tractors from Japan (such as  Mitsubishi, Kubota, Zen-Noh, Iseki, Shibaura or Hinomoto), the actual meaning of “grey market” or “gray market” has been frequently misunderstood and even misrepresented. In addition to a lack of understanding as to what exactly the grey market actually is, there has also been a certain level of fear mongering and even intentionally misleading statements (these last two usually coming from “official” channels here in the USA, but not from Japan).

The aim of the next several blog entries here at Big Red’s Equipment will be to debunk some of the myths surrounding this issue and to help bring some accountability to those who would mislead potential tractor buyers into believing that the gray market (especially for used, reconditioned Japanese compact tractors) cannot benefit them, when in fact the exact opposite is true. Gray market is a good thing, both for buyers and sellers.

Grey market or gray market is simply the distribution of goods through channels which are completely legal but unofficial. Big Red’s Equipment’s grey market tractors are made in Japan for the compact tractor market in that country and with brands such as Mitsubishi, Kubota, Iseki, Hinomoto and Shibaura, fit into this category.  Our used, reconditioned tractors were originally sold new in Japan; they were then purchased used a number of years after that (when the original Japanese owner decided to sell his tractor), reconditioned to a like-new condition and imported into the United States for sale by Big Red’s Equipment to the general public as well as compact tractor dealers.

When our tractors were originally sold new in the Japanese market they were sold by an authorized dealer in that country, such Mitsubishi, Kubota, etc, dealership, to the original customer.  Such authorized dealerships are considered to be “official” channels for the distribution of these goods, just as John Deere dealerships are the “official” channels for the distribution of new John Deere tractors here in the USA.  However, just as here in the USA and almost every other developed country in the world, after the original new sale of a tractor it can be sold at will by the customer or his representative to anyone he or she chooses to do business with.  Technically speaking, according to the definition of gray market, the used market within the borders of any country can also be called a gray market due to the fact that the product enters “unofficial” channels after the original sale whether or not this product was exported or imported.

The grey market is considered a thorn in the side of many multinational corporations who have authorized distributors in countries outside the country of manufacture.  This is due to the fact that once outside the “official” channels they can no longer control, or even greatly influence, the buying and selling of these products.  Lack of control equals lack of additional profit for these companies.   It also means increased competition for the products they themselves represent via “official” channels of distribution.

For example, if a company imports a used Mitsubishi tractor from Japan into the USA this importation bypasses the “official” channels of distribution through Mitsubishi authorized representative in the USA.  Therefore Yanmar’s American division or representative cannot profit from the importation and sale of that tractor.  Although the gray market has been legally challenged hundreds of times in the US courts over the decades, and found to be completely legal each and every time and with hardly any limitations whatsoever, some so-called “official” representatives still make every attempt to obstruct the legal trade in these products.  However, there is such a large amount of legal precedence in place that these attempts must ultimately fail, and they always do.  Stay tuned.