USA Dealers visit Australia and New Zealand
It was a whistle stop tour of Australia for an excited group of PFG America dealers. After convening in Los Angeles for the flight Down Under, all thoughts of jet lag were brushed aside upon arrival in Melbourne. With the American flag flying proudly in the grounds, first up was a luncheon at PFG Australia headquarters in Derrimut where PFG Australia CEO Justin Whitford and General Manager Ag Division Doug Robinson gave the formal welcome.
From there it was a splendid dinner in the city’s CBD before (most) participants took the opportunity for an early night. The next day’s highlight was a few hours spent in the leafy environs of the Yarra Valley, some 75 minutes out of Melbourne. It was a stunning morning, blossoming into a warm afternoon. The good folks out at Seville Tractors hosted the group, with a number of the U.S. dealers commenting at the variety of models on display.
From there, things took more of a leisurely turn with a tour of the grounds of the immaculate Seville Estate – with complimentary wine tasting thrown in for good measure. Coombe Yarra Valley was next on the visit list, whereby the group enjoyed lunch…and a little more wine tasting!
Here are some comments from the USA delegates
Craig Maber - President PFG America
“It’s a great chance to show people a bit of Australia, how things are done here and meet some dealers and farmers. When I meet people in America they’re always excited to hear you’re from New Zealand or Australia and not a lot of people have been here because it’s such a long way. We’ve got a couple of guys from Virginia, we’ve got people from Georgia, Tennessee, Oregon, Ohio, California and other places.
“They’re going to see a more mature Deutz-Fahr brand over here. They are seeing what’s possible. It’s quite new in the States since it has been built up again and we can show them that it’s as good as anything else, give them confidence in the brand and where we’re going – the market share, the growth and the way we’re building it. They can see we actually care about them.
“By working together we can build great businesses and they can see the success stories that we’ve built in Australia and New Zealand over the last twenty years. We’ve got to build confidence [in the dealers] that we’re going to look after them and that’s when it will start growing. We’ve had a great past twelve months and we can see rapid growth over the next couple of years.
“So we’re off to New Zealand and we’ll start in Queenstown and have a bit of fun. We’ll see some farms and beautiful countryside and we’ll stop in at some of our dealerships over there. The guys on the cropping and dairy farms can share their experiences and then we’ll show the American group our distribution centre before heading to the North Island. We’ll show them our head office and where it all started, a bit of history, and then do some tourist stuff.
“I’m from Central Valley, California, fifteen miles west of Fresno. We have about forty employees at our dealership. On the Deutz front, we sold more than thirty over the past year. It’s growing, but the EPA regulations are a bit different from Australia and New Zealand, so the tractors are about ten thousand or twelve thousand American dollars more expensive. Competition is pretty tough in the States.
“I really want to see how other people run their dealerships in other countries. That’s what I want to get out of this trip. Bring some of that stuff back to my dealership and implement it. The American farmer has been farming for two hundred years and it’s hard to change them with different ideas. You have to physically show them something that’s a better way.
“You have to roll the dice. You have to use capital and purchase the tractor and go out and show them that it can do the job.
“It’s very nice here. It reminds me of the Napa Valley and Sonoma [County].
“A lot of the dealers here I know already. We used to be the importer and distributor in the States, west of the Mississippi, so I’m familiar with these dealers, what kind of farms they have in Oklahoma and Ohio and what not. But coming out here we can share our experiences and see how you guys do business.”
Rusty and Nicole Zimmerman
Rusty: “We’re about twenty five miles west of Roanoke, Virginia. Our county borders with West Virginia. Last year at the Deutz dealer meeting they announced that anyone who sold more than twelve hundred horsepower of Deutz would earn a trip. We met our goal and now we’re here!
Nicole: “People have been super nice. The accents are hilarious! It’s so great to be around such welcoming people. And when we get to New Zealand we’re going to be visiting some dealerships and farms.
Rusty: “Unfortunately, there’s a tremendous amount of products [in Australia] that we can’t get our hands on. That’s the biggest downfall of the emissions standards in the States. It’s a lot more difficult to get some of these products into the States, so it’s neat to see the wide variety of products that Deutz offers that we can’t get. Hopefully Deutz can make changes to get those into our hands.
“I’m with Crewe Tractor and we’re about an hour south-west of Richmond, Virginia. This trip came about because we were fortunate enough to win it through our sales in 2019 and I couldn’t wait to come out and visit Australia and New Zealand, places I’ve never been to. The climate is very nice, very enjoyable.
“The dealer we visited [Seville Tractors] is very similar to what we have at home. There are bigger dealerships, but also ones like that scattered throughout the countryside in Virginia. In our dealership we carry Deutz Fahr, but we sell more of Massey Ferguson, with Deutz not far behind. Knocking on the door.
“I think we’re visiting some dealerships in New Zealand but I hope it’s more leisure time. I’m not here to work!”