For more than 50 years, family owned and run Vincent Tractors & Plant Ltd has served farmers across Cornwall and the operation has recently expanded to look after customers in Devon too. David Williams attended the celebrations.
Husband and wife team Ken and Esme Vincent started the business in 1965 at Summercourt, near Newquay, and quickly outgrew their small workshop encouraging relocation to Fraddon in 1966, which remains the company’s headquarters today. Ken and Esme remain involved although their son Paul is now managing director and his sons have also joined the company – Alec as finance manager and Nick as a construction specialist. In 1982 the Kubota franchise was taken on and since then more than 5,500 machines have been supplied across Devon and Cornwall. Agricultural, construction, turf and groundcare products are sold and serviced and to reflect this the company changed its trading name to Vincent Tractors & Plant in 2018.
“Kubota’s reputation for reliability and efficiency is excellent,” explained Paul. “We took on the agricultural range at its introduction in the early 1990s, and it has always suited our area. More than half the tractors we supply have front loaders, most users are owner drivers, a superb five-year warranty is available and there have always been attractive finance packages allowing purchasers to buy reliable new tractors with costs spread to suit their businesses.”
Kubota increased its agricultural product offering in 2015, with the introduction of larger and more powerful M7-series tractors complementing the previous largest MGX 135 models. In early 2017 grass harvest products and spreaders, previously available only with Vicon branding, were added to the Kubota line-up and the possible future addition of cultivation products and drills will enable Kubota and its dealers recognition as full line suppliers, catering for the needs of most UK farmers.
“For many years we could only supply tractors up to 100hp so most customers were livestock farms,” added Paul, “but since having larger tractors to offer, interest has increased from arable farms, estates and contractors and we have taken most competitor brands in as part-exchanges in recent years. With high performance grassland machinery and spreaders available too, sales are increasing.”
Other main franchises include Manitou handlers, Ifor Williams Trailers, Yamaha ATVs, Kidd Farm Machinery, Teagle, Browns and Marshall Trailers, catering for the needs of the mainly livestock and grassland farms in the trading area.
The dealer’s success resulted in a request by Kubota to represent it in Devon too; but this would have to be backed by significant investment in additional staff and new premises to match the standard of service that had been so successful in Cornwall. Two new depots were established, at Holsworthy and Smithaleigh, and their official openings were celebrated a week apart in early-December.
At the open days visitors had the opportunity to inspect Kubota’s full range along with machinery from the other suppliers. Company and dealer representatives were on-hand explaining features and benefits at both events.
“We were delighted that farmers and contractors from across Devon attended,” commented Paul. “We didn’t know what to expect as it’s still early days for us in the area but there was amazing support from potential customers welcoming us and keen to find out what we can offer. Some already operate Kubota tractors having dealt with the previous dealers, but others have been considering the brand and are keen to have demonstrations as soon as possible. We have taken orders as a direct result of the open days and expect more business to materialise in the spring. Although most interest was from agricultural users, construction equipment received many enquiries too.
“What also pleased us was the variety of farm types and sizes represented by visitors and along with traditional family mixed and livestock farms there were also owners and managers of larger enterprises up to 1,250ha. We achieved a lot during the open days and believe that customers in our new trading area will be delighted with the product range we offer and the service available to back it up.”
At Holsworthy the official opening was by Kubota business development manager for tractors and groundcare Adrian Langmead and at Smithaleigh by Kubota business development manager for construction equipment, Glen Hampson.
“The Vincent family have been great partners with Kubota,” said Glen as he unveiled the plaque. “I believe this dealer will only become stronger going forward. We have best in class products and a superb dealer network across the UK and Ireland. Having the right partners in the right places is critical for that success and we are delighted that the Vincent family will represent us now in this area.”