Farmers looking for a mid-hp, high-spec tractor that’s not too heavy will get a bigger choice next year when premium maker Fendt brings in its new 500 Vario series.
The new tractors span the 125-165hp band, which means that on paper they duplicate the existing 400 Vario series which run from 115 to 150hp. However the latter will be phased out towards the end of the year.
In terms of looks, the 500 Varios have a strong family resemblance to the bigger 700 series Fendts. In fact the cabs are the same on both ranges, with the new models getting 700-series-style screens (7in or 10.4in) and scroll-wheels, multi-function joysticks and relatively well-organised armrests, as well as a windscreen that curves up into the roof to give a good view of front-end loaders.
All models have Fendt’s Vario CVT transmissions. Meanwhile, under the bonnet, the new models have 4-cylinder 4040cc Deutz engines that use SCR to meet the latest 3b/Tier4 emissions regs.
Fendt says that, depending on the spec chosen, the new models will also get some of the items that are usually only found on its bigger 700 and 800 models. This includes the VarioGuide autosteer system, one or more cameras that can be monitored on the screen and the VarioDoc system that gives drivers a quick way to log machine and field details.
Five double-acting valves are supplied as standard at the back of the tractor, plus two more at the front. Rear lift capacity is 7,780kg, a pretty substantial figure for tractors in this hp class.
The top speed of 50kph is achieved at lower revs and a good road ride should come from self-levelling front axles, cab suspension and seat suspension.
Three spec levels will be coming to the UK, Power, Profi and Profi Plus. You can upgrade from Profi spec to Profi Plus, but if you go for the Power spec, you can’t upgrade.
Max power: 125/135/145/165hp
Max torque: 50/590/649/687Nm @ 1,600rpm
Weight: 6,265kg (unladen)
Fuel tank: 298 litres
Top speed: 50kph
Max rear lift: 7,780kg
Max front lift: 3,450kg
UK Availability: Early 2013
With sales up across most of its markets and a huge new factory just opened next to the existing one at Marktoberdorf in Bavaria, Fendt looks to be in confident mood.
It reckons it will sell 17,500 tractors this year, a rise of 18% compared to 2011. In fact production has jumped by 60% over the last 10 years and the company views the longer-term future with considerable optimism.“Our long-term goal is to sell 20,000 tractors and more next year,” says Fendt vice-president Peter-Josef Paffen. “We could even double this sales volume within a dozen years.”
Fendt has also doubled its share of the German combine market from 2% in 2010 to 4.1% in 2011. It hopes to grab a 6.3% market share in 2012 and push that up to 15% by 2016.
On the forager front, there are now 25 Katana pre-production machines working in Germany and some in France. Expect to see preview machines in the UK in 2013.