4 August 1995

Belarus links with western company

NEW tractor models fitted with UK sourced engines and links with a "leading western tractor manufacturer" are among the future developments for former Soviet tractor manufacturer Belarus.

But the company will continue to produce its existing range of models, which have seen steady, rather than radical development over the past 10, or even 25 years, insists managing director Oleg Lovkov.

The new models – powered by UK built engines – are aimed at broadening the companys range and enable it to compete in the mainstream power brackets of up to 160hp.

Links with a western tractor manufacturer – Mr Lovkov refused to be drawn on the company involved – is seen as an arrangement which should benefit both parties. It allows the newcomer access to the vast markets now available in the former Soviet Union and provides Belarus with modern technology to upgrade existing tractor ranges.

Belarus tractors are produced in three factories in what is now the CIS, with the Minsk factory in Belarus producing the 55-100hp models. The existing models simple and rugged designs are claimed to make them suitable for many markets, worldwide.

But new technology is deemed to be necessary to satisfy changes in the former Soviet Union and to enable the company to compete in other sectors.

Niche supplier

"We are, and will remain, a niche supplier of tractors in the UK," says Mr Lovkov. "We will keep our distance from other tractor makes, but will continue to upgrade our models as market demands change.

Mr Lovkov points out, however, there is a need to expand the range to provide greater appeal to farmers who have not considered Belarus tractors.