27 November 1998

Buoyant Italy bucks gloomy tractor trend…

Large crowds and not a sad face among them – the vast

crowds which flocked to Italys Eima event last week were

clearly enjoying more prosperous times than their UK

counterparts. Andy Collings reports from Bologna

TRACTOR sales in Italy are booming. Bucking the trend currently being endured by so many other European countries – not least the UK – sales are expected to rise by over 11% this year,

compared with 1997.

A figure of 11% represents an increase of about 2000 tractors. If compacts are included, the increase is nearer 3000 units.

And on the back of such sales, agricultural machinery manufacturers are also enjoying buoyant times with most reporting satisfactory levels.

Asked why the Italian agricultural industry is experiencing such seemingly prosperous times, most appear to be at a loss to answer. After all, Italy is a European country and not a million miles away from countries which have had an appalling year.

True, much of Italys agriculture differs widely from that of the UK and most other western European farming countries. But, as manufacturers agree, the basic structure is still very much the same.

There is, however, a degree of caution for the future, with several manufacturers voicing fears that things could change for the worse.