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The History of Kubota Tractors: A Model for International Business

The Kubota Corporation is Japanese-based in the City of Osaka. It was established in 1890 and continues to operate today. Kubota tractors are designed for smaller farms as is typical in Japan. However, Kubota tractors are just as powerful as their larger counterparts because the need for power is just as necessary. In fact, Kubota tractors were among the first to offer four-wheel drive in a compact model. Today, Kubota tractors are sold and manufactured internationally with a large component in the United States. In addition to tractors, Kubota also produces agricultural equipment, engines, and construction machines. Kubota has a very solid history of producing quality tractors as well as other agricultural/farming equipment.

Kubota first exported tractors to the United States in 1969. The first among the exported tractors by Kubota was the L200 which packed 21 horsepower. This model was very popular in the United States which led to the 1972 forming of American-based Kubota Tractor Corporation in Torrance, California. Subsequent to this, the corporation introduced a 12 horsepower four-wheel drive tractor in 1974.

Kubota Manufacturing of America formed in 1988. Its headquarters is in Gainesville, Georgia and functions as a major employer as well as manufacturer of tractors and farm implements in North America. This plant produces BX-series tractors, lawn and garden tractors, RTV900 utility vehicles, and zero-turn mowers.

The Kubota Industrial Equipment plant opened in 2006 in Jefferson, Georgia. The main purpose of this plant was to complement the production of implements for the tractors already produced by Kubota Manufacturing of America. Some of the implements for tractors produced at this plant include front-end loaders and backhoes. The major function of this plant is to prepare and configure the larger B, L, and M-series tractors imported from Japan for redistribution to the northern, southeastern, and central sales regions.

Kubota today has four major lines of tractors. In addition to the previously-mentioned B, L, and M-series, it produces the BX-series tractors. Overall, Kubota has 80 models of tractors and is one of the leaders in the U.S. market for manufacturers of tractors. The BX-series tractors come in 18 to 25 horsepower models. They are compact utility tractors that handle like a garden tractor.

Kubota has tractors for a variety of jobs. The B-series tractors come in a range of 18 to 32 horsepower models and are very versatile being used for small household jobs as well as light construction and small garden jobs. The L-series tractors are for larger jobs and come in a range of 30 to 59 horsepower models. They are useful for small farming, estate maintenance, and commercial landscaping. The M-series tractors are the powerhouse in the Kubota lines of tractors and come in 43 to 103 horsepower models.

Kubota owns other companies producing tractors worldwide. These countries include Canada, Germany, France, Spain, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Kubota is also listed on the New York and Frankfurt Stock Exchanges as well as domestically in Japan.

Kubota tractors are currently being impacted by the global recession. Financial reports from April 2009 indicated that the demand for tractors, agricultural, and construction equipment will continue to decline and Kubota is not immune from the effects. But other manufacturers of tractors are having the same problems as indicated by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers and the strong performance history and good international business practices of Kubota will probably carry them through turbulent times.

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