Mark Baker: “Being awarded the McCormick franchise is a great opportunity.”Farmers in south Somerset have increased sales, service and parts support following the appointment of Mark Baker’s engineering business, based at Ashwell near Ilminster, as a main dealership for McCormick tractors.
A line-up of McCormick tractors outside the refurbished workshop, parts store and offices occupied by new south Somerset dealer M Baker Engineering Ltd.M Baker Engineering now represents McCormick in a territory that neighbours established McCormick dealers RSM Beare, Stoke Cannon; Read Agriservices, Wanstrow near Shepton Mallet (covering north Somerset); and Martin Richards Agricultural Engineers, Kingston near Sturminster Newton.
Mark Baker (second from right) works alongside trained technicians Ali Haine (left) and Mark Wareham (right), and parts storesman Dave Fox.It’s a big step for Mark as this is the first time he has entered the competitive world of new tractor sales. But he relishes the opportunity to develop his business and, potentially, create more jobs.
“Until now, we’ve always focused on servicing and repairing any make of tractor or implement that farmers bring us,” he says. “We’ll continue with that but with greater focus on McCormick products. Becoming a main dealer for a major tractor brand is a bit daunting but it’s also too good an opportunity to miss.”
Mark Baker learned his spanner-wielding skills as an apprentice at the Cullompton branch of a large agricultural machinery group before moving to the local McCormick dealer. He later started out on his own as a ‘man with a van’ and over the past seven years has built his business and reputation carrying out repairs and servicing work, most recently from premises at Ashwell just outside Iliminster.
Steve Cann, area sales manager at McCormick distributor AgriArgo UK, says: “When the McCormick territory in the area became available to a new dealership, Mark was the obvious candidate for it. He does a good job providing workshop services to loyal customers and can now put his past McCormick experience to good use.”
The same goes for experienced McCormick technician Ali Haine, who was joined a few months ago by Mark Wareham in the workshop, and for Dave Fox whose lifetime career in parts means he knows McCormick tractors and their predecessors carrying the Case, IH and David Brown brands inside out.
To make the most of the opportunity, Mark Baker and his team now occupy larger premises at Ashwell, with a bigger workshop and more space to store a greater selection of parts.
An indoor tractor showroom is being prepared alongside a retail shop for hand tools, work clothing and consumables such as oil and filters, batteries and general fixtures and fittings. There are also refurbished sales and administration offices.
“Preparing the building is hard work but it’s worth the time, late nights and investment,” says Mark. “I want to make the most of this opportunity.”
The McCormick range has a good mix of tractors for the arable, dairy, beef and sheep farming in his territory, he adds. And over the next two to three years, manufacturer Argo Tractors will roll out the largest number of new designs in the famous McCormick marque’s history.
The specialist fruit tractors and the 25-55hp compact models – which make ideal ‘scraper’ and smallholding tractors – continue unchanged. But up to six new McCormick ranges from 60hp to 300hp will be introduced.
“They will have new cabs and control technology bringing increased driver comfort and appeal, new powershift and stepless transmissions, and more equipment options for greater efficiency and versatility,” says Mark. “Together with proven engines with good fuel economy, I think the new ‘X’ generation McCormick tractors will appeal to all the different types of farms we serve.”
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