Just four years after a second assembly plant was added to keep pace with demand for its products, Massey Ferguson has celebrated further expansion at its Beauvais, France headquarters. David Williams attended the official opening.
The addition of Beauvais 2 in 2014 saw cab production moved to a separate site, releasing additional area in the main factory for tractor assembly and in January this year Beauvais 3 officially opened, providing storage for components and boosting build efficiency by allowing the production line to be fed with parts kits to match each tractor’s precise build specification.
“Massey Ferguson is the biggest brand in terms of the number of tractors produced around the world,” commented Agco chairman, president and CEO Martin Richenhagen. “It’s a very important brand with a long-standing history.”
In 1994 Massey Ferguson was bought by Agco and in 2002 production moved from Coventry to Beauvais. Martin pointed out at the opening of Beauvais 3 that Massey Ferguson exports more agricultural machinery from France than any other brand and, with an increasing market share, the much-needed expansion will provide space for twice the current production level.
The 8ha Beauvais 3 site includes 30,000m2 of buildings and the opening of the logistics centre following in excess of €10m investment has already created more than 100 new jobs. But as Martin disclosed at the event, this is only a stepping-stone to future potential factory growth as Beauvais 4 is already in the late stages of planning with a further 15.7ha neighbouring site earmarked for purchase. This will allow operations which are currently out-sourced, including pre-delivery inspections, to be moved in-house and a tractor customisation workshop was one of the additional potential options for the future, similar perhaps to sister brand Valtra’s Unlimited Studio.
When Beauvais 4 has joined the previous three plants, the Massey Ferguson Centre of Excellence for Engineering and Manufacturing in Beauvais will cover 54ha and employ up to 2,500 people, including at its Gima transmission and Agco Finance joint ventures which share the site.
Massey Ferguson vice-president and managing director for Europe, Africa and Middle East Thierry Lhotte commented; “More than €300m has been invested in Beauvais in the past 6 years. Our growth strategy is gaining momentum.”
Since 2015, 14 new tractor ranges have been launched and the plan is to launch 14 more by 2023, allowing the manufacturer to meet diverse requirements of users all over the world. Targets for the next few years include production of 18,000 tractors at the site annually.
Each shift can build up to 96 tractors although current production is 53 units, and last year 13,479 tractors were made at Beauvais including those coloured and badged Massey Ferguson, Challenger, Valtra and Iseki. The red main brand total was 13,048 units of which more than 1,700 ended up in the UK, behind the main market France and ahead of the third export market Germany.
Two shifts per day could be accommodated to meet predicted sales growth, although so far this has not been required. The production line includes 96 stations which means that at maximum speed, one tractor can be assembled from start to finish in one working shift.
Massey Ferguson credits the local and regional community and authorities for contributing to the brand’s success since production started in Beauvais and joining the company to celebrate the site opening, and cut the ribbon were the town’s mayor Caroline Cayeux and France’s Minister of State, attached to the Minister of Economy and Finance, Agnès Pannier-Runacher.
Key hp sectors
Asked by Farmers Guide which power segments will be key to Massey Ferguson’s target sales growth, Martin Richenhagen explained that 150–250hp and 70–100hp models are expected to contribute heavily.
“We have been redesigning the customer experience and believe 10 per cent growth by 2021 is realistic,” confirmed Thierry, adding that changes in legislation had led to reporting inaccuracies in terms of tractors sold per year.
“In late 2017 we supplied a lot of tractors ahead of the new ‘mother regulations’, but these were retailed later by dealers in the first quarter of 2018, so overall 2018 reported figures are distorted.”
“By the time I retire,” added Mr Richenhagen, without specifying a time scale or likely successor, “I hope we will be producing 20,000 tractors per year.”