A multi-faceted joint venture will see Japan’s Kubota and Escorts of India jointly developing and manufacturing utility tractors that will be sold to Indian farmers by both companies and exported by Kubota to selected markets around the world. Kubota will have 60% ownership of the manufacturing joint venture, which is said to have an initial capacity of 50,000 units and the resources to jointly develop new products.

Escorts Group is one of India’s largest agricultural, construction and railway equipment companies, producing 21-80 horsepower tractors, engines and gensets.

Masatoshi Kimata, president and representative director of Kubota Corp. describes Escorts Group’s farm equipment unit as having “a strong technology legacy and diversified portfolio” in agricultural tractors and equipment. “Together we will cater to India and other growing economies which require high end technology and new age tractors for the growing demands of highly mechanized farming,” he said.

Kimata signed the agreement with Nikhil Nanda, who was appointed chairman in addition to his role as managing director of Escorts Group in August this year. He said of the new joint venture: “Escorts is evolving into a global organization through strategic technology and manufacturing collaborations. Our global joint venture with Kubota is aimed at technology-led collaborative growth in domestic and export markets.”

Escorts currently produces a range of conventional Powertrac “value” tractors for the Indian market and Farmtrac 21-80 horsepower 2WD and 4WD models that in addition to being sold within India are also exported.

The tractors — many of which have styling that reflects past license agreements with Ford’s one-time tractor operations — recently returned to the U.S. after an absence of around 16 years, and the group has an operation in Poland producing cabbed tractors for the European market.

Although many of its tractors are very simple, more advanced solutions are being developed, such as the all-electric compact tractor unveiled just a year ago. A concept autonomous tractor was introduced in September of this year.

Products from the new joint venture will capitalize on Kubota platforms and technology to cater to Indian and overseas markets, with exports handled by Kubota through its distribution network to specific markets yet to be determined.