The launch of new high horsepower tractors and a preview of several new ranges to come have convinced Lancs-based dealer Bryan Hoggarth to switch brands.
He is confident that resigning from the New Holland franchise to take on McCormick and focusing all operations on a single branch will refresh his business and improve customer service efficiency.
The decision to represent McCormick in southern Cumbria and the Yorkshire Dales has not come easily, says Mr Hoggarth at his base near Carnforth, Lancashire.
Bryan Hoggarth (right) with Ray Spinks, general manager and sales director at McCormick distributor AgriArgo UK.
“This is our twentieth year with New Holland, so you can imagine how difficult a decision this has been,” he comments. “But I firmly believe it’s the right decision for the long-term good of our company, for the staff employed here and, ultimately, for our customers.”
Since it was started in the late 1970s, Mr Hoggarth’s business has become a leading supplier of tractors and field machinery to farmers and contractors, largely thanks to the emphasis placed on service support – providing parts and carrying out repairs and routine servicing.
Test driving a pre-production McCormick X7 Series tractor helped convince Bryan Hoggarth to switch brands.
“Today, we have 10 fully-trained service technicians and a fleet of six well-equipped service vans,” he points out. “I think that illustrates the importance we place on this aspect of the business to help customers keep their tractors and machinery in good working order.”
However, Hoggarth’s pride and delight at the success of the business has been tempered in recent years by the increasing demands of its major supplier.
“Their ‘corporate’ approach is not the way I like to do business,” he says. “It has become a real strain and I was increasingly concerned about how such pressure would affect future generations running the business.”
That led to the decision by Mr Hoggarth, his wife and fellow director Sue, and their son Jonathan, to resign from the New Holland franchise and take on McCormick tractors instead.
"The people at McCormick distributor AgriArgo UK are very experienced, down-to-earth and hands-on,” says Bryan Hoggarth. “They understand our business and are keen to work with us, not just push us all the time.”
The final decision followed a visit to the ARGO Tractors factory in Italy where today’s McCormick products are built. Meeting top managers and being given an insight into the new McCormick tractors being introduced over the next two years convinced him to make the switch
"There are some good, solid tractors, especially for livestock farmers, in the current range, with the 92-121hp X60 and new 85-113hp X50 line-up," he says. "But I’ve also had the privilege of seeing and driving the new generation X7 Series higher horsepower tractors and I’m genuinely impressed."
Bryan Hoggarth Ltd now represents the McCormick range in a territory that covers north Lancashire and eastwards from the M6 across south-east Cumbria into the Yorkshire Dales.
Existing dealers John Charnley & Sons at Chorley to the south, Relph Machinery at Great Broughton to the north-west, and H Pigney & Sons at Appleby to the north of this territory are unaffected by the appointment.
“We’re delighted to welcome Bryan Hoggarth and his colleagues to the national McCormick dealer network,” says Ray Spinks, general manager and sales director at McCormick distributor AgriArgo UK. “We’ll provide every possible support as they make the transition to our tractor range and have already started providing sales and technical training.”
Hoggarth’s Kendal branch will be closed to focus all McCormick sales and service operations at Carnforth where extended workshops are being built to maintain service and repairs capacity. All staff will be retained.
"Because of traffic congestion, customers closest to our Kendal branch often find it quicker to get to our main premises near Carnforth,” says Bryan Hoggarth. “And now that the new auction mart is much closer to us, I think that will encourage more farmers to call in here for parts and other supplies.
“Closing the Kendal branch will make life easier for our service personnel because all the parts and equipment they need will be in one location,” he adds. “It will help us meet customer service demands more efficiently."