After making major strides in increasing sales in the U.S. and Canada, LS Mtron, the South Korean-based manufacturer of the LS brand of compact and mid-range tractors, is eyeing Brazil as its next target for growing revenues. The company says it is aiming to reach $1.8 billion in global sales by 2023. Currently, LS has 4 factories in Korea, Brazil, China and U.S.
Ju Chan Kim, president of LS Mtron Brazil and former head of the U.S. business unit of LS Mtron, the holding company that controls LS Tractor, sat down for an exclusive interview with Ag Equipment Intelligence’s South American correspondent, to discuss where the company is today and why it sees Brazil as such an attractive market.
Since 2000, LS has been developing the various products that were targeted for North American markets, which has a large and growing demand for compact tractors. “Our dealer network was formally established in the U.S. and Canada in 2008,” says Kim. “Today, we have over 350 dealers in the North America.”
He says its dealership network has been the key to its success in North America. “We consider the dealers as not only clients, but also partners. Without the success of our dealers, we could not grow. We believe keeping the good relationship with the dealers as the most important thing in this business.”
Kim says, the main use for LS tractors in the U.S. is for landscaping and other utility-type applications, not necessarily agriculture. While LS has gained significant market share in the North America, he believes the Brazilian market offer better opportunities in farming as the company looks to a target over 1 million small farms that work 250 acres or less.
“Brazil is the most important market for us in agricultural along with Korea and China. [Our equipment offers] lower fuel consumption, durability and user friendly design. We are launching the R65C model this year. Moreover, we are developing a power shuttle model for 70-100 horsepower to launch in the fourth quarter of this year. For the future, we are preparing the powershift and narrow tractors.”