17 July 1998

Happier times to come in tractor sales statistics?

THERE are signs that the ailing UK tractor market may make a small recovery later this year.

Registrations for June were 27% down on the same period last year, with sales for the first six months of the year 42.3% lower at 4665, according to the Agricultural Engineers Association.

While farmers were buying only when they really needed to in the first half of the year, the level of inquiries in recent weeks was encouraging, said New Hollands commercial director Hedley Cooper, who predicts an upturn in sales later in the year.

"We dont believe there will be a dramatic turn-around. But the industry could finish 30% down overall, compared with the present year-to-date figure of more than 40%, he said. That would mean a total tractor market of about 11,000 units for the current year," said Mr Cooper.

Case-IH also reported an increase in inquiries for new tractors, particularly larger models for the arable sector.

"Talking to some of our dealers at the show it appears there is some light at the end of the tunnel," said Jeremy Lamb, Case IHs vice-president for European sales.