Foton “Full of Eastern Promise”

If you were to travel 5000 miles to buy a small tractor you would probably expect to pick up a bargain. Now with the growing success of the Chinese Foton brand in the UK you can have a full specification new tractor delivered to your door for 35 to 40% of the price of standard tractor from the branded European and Japanese manufacturers. The Foton tractor has made a big impact in the UK and is now recognised as as a quality “work horse” at an affordable price. Many UK small holders find they have insufficient acreage and too narrow gate posts to justify the purchase of a large modern tractor. Hence an enthusiasm for vintage machinery some of which dates from the middle of the last century when smaller tractors were part of the British farming landscape. While these tractors are nice to look at and provoke memory’s of a bygone age the truth is that you would probably spend as much time repairing such a tractor as actually using it. The 21st century Foton will allow you to get on with the job day after day reliability.

 

Foton Tractors will not only sell you a tractor with a 2 year  warranty but will also maintain the tractor for optimum performance season after season. Tractors are not like “white goods” they need technical support and parts supply at sensible prices. Foton Tractors have factory trained technicians , parts advisers, specialist tools and mobile workshops which carry out on site servicing on all makes of Chinese tractors supplied anywhere in the UK at affordable prices. Give us a call and find out.

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Chinese Tractor Parts and Service Cost – Have your say.

Chinese tractors  have slowly developed in specification and quality over the 15 years or so they have been in the UK. The market in the UK is fairly small at around 300-400 units a year, but multiply that by 15 and you get 4500 – 6000  users, some of these tractors are getting on a bit needing service and parts. The Chinese way of doing business does not lend its self to orderly distribution of which  service and spare parts are a vital component,there are probably only three places in the whole of the UK you can get proper support for your tractor but they only keep parts for the tractors they have supplied , not the machines that have come in from mainland Europe or imported by the “fast buck” brigade. There are also companies that charge eye watering prices for fast moving parts forgetting about the slow moving parts. We have found companies charging £23 for a Foton oil filter that should cost £7.00 and Foton  cab glass door at over £1500 + fitting which should cost £350 including  fitting! The problem of Chinese tractor parts and service goes right back to the manufacture, the problem being that unless we as a private company have an exclusive distribution agreement or exclusive models the amount of money invested will always be limited. Would you develop a business and invest in stock with out any sort of exclusivity to protect your investment?

Foton Tractors have  over 10 years in the Chinese tractor market we are profitable and forward thinking. Our current stock of parts is way in excess of what is need to support the tractors we sell but we are also happy to support the Foton tractors in the UK which are sold without proper support. We have recently invested in a 3500 sq/metre purpose built building, new service vehicles, more parts and computer system. The question is do we utilise 10 years of knowledge on all Chinese tractors or do we expand in other more profitable directions? If you are reading this blog and own a Chinese tractor please respond with your thoughts, it will make the decision much easier if  at least our Chinese tractor supplier takes on board that a solid partnership with a forward thinking, established and profitable company in the UK would increase their sales and hugely increase their reputation in the market.

 

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Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

IMG_20141024_110457Thank you to everybody for their continued custom and support over the past years. 2014   has been a record year for tractor sales with many improvements and the introduction of   new cabs for the smaller tractors and the new 4 cylinder 55hp range with deluxe cab which even includes heater and FM radio. Next year will see the introduction of a new range of loader for all models with better quality, more features and a better price, there will also  be new offerings in the implement range  during 2015.The fixed price servicing introduced in 2012  has proved very successful and is now being combined with an extended warranty programme to minimise the cost of owning a Foton Tractor.

In these days of shopping on the web social media is becoming the most efficient way of making your website visible. I resisted it for many years and have now succumbed, Foton tractors has a Youtube channel, Facebook page, twitter account, Google+ and a blog linked to the website for any of you who are curious the links are at the bottom of the page! The blog is the unconnected ramblings of small business owner who just happens to have been involved with agriculture all his working life. If anyone has  suggestions for articles or interesting anecdotes  they would be gratefully received as long as they are within my scope.I hope you all have a great Christmas and prosperous new year! and look forward to speaking to you all again in 2015.

 

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Foton Lovol – China’s 76th Biggest Company

DSCF1386Here is some interesting information for those of you who wonder who Foton are. For Lovol read Foton Lovol as Foton is the export brand of the Lovol company. The figures are very impressive and demonstrate the financial stability and resource of the company

Lovol Press Release
On June 25, the World Brand Lab released 2014 rankings of Top-500 Most Valuable Chinese Brands in Beijing. Lovol, with a brand value of 26.498 billion RMB, ranked 76th. Lovol had an increase of 4.94 billion RMB over 2013 and the year on year growth rate is 22.9%. It’s understood that the World Brand Lab is the one of three major generally-recognized brand valuation authorities at present in the world. Since 2004, the rankings of Top-500 Most Valuable Chinese Brands will be released once a year. The rank is relatively highly authoritative and has great reference significance on appraising the corporate brand value variation. In the national line up of Chinese brand based on analysis on corporate finance, consumer behaviour and brand strength, “Lovol” brand value has been showing leap-forward growth. Its brand value has grown nearly 4 times from 7.015 billion RMB in 2008 to 26.498 billion RMB in 2014 in five years. And also, “Lovol” has emerged as one of the domestic brands with fastest growth of brand value in recent years.

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Foton Citrax FT254 Compact Tractor + Road Sweeper

IMG_20140909_121900_edit

Recently introduced by Foton Tractors is the 1.5m working width Sweeper from FTS, recommended for tractors with 28-50hp. Perfect for sweeping debris from roads, driveways and pavement.The sweeper also has an adjustable debris collector and height adjustable and removable rear wheels.
The SWF150 has several connections, standard euro hitch, fixed forklift connection and tractor 3 point linkage.
The Road Sweeper is constructed from a pressed steel shell which gives an excellent strength to weight ratio. It is a tractor mounted road sweeper machine driven from the tractor P.T.O. shaft and is available with small debris collector box. This sweeper is designed for use with almost any tractor which is fitted with hydraulic three point linkage and power take off and can be fitted or detached in minutes.

Brush sections are supplied in polypropylene and are easily replaceable. The castor wheels fitted to the rear enables the sweeper to follow road undulations. The road sweeper may be used to sweep straight ahead and collect debris to be dumped off site or into a trailer if fitted to a front loader or fork lift.
To see the video of the sweeper at work on our You Tube channel click here

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What are Foton Tractors like to deal with?

Foton FT25When I started this blog it was in response to some of the mis information available about Chinese built tractors. They are value for money, reliable work horses. Below is a posting on a French Forum where the question was asked “Foton does any one know about them are parts available”. There is then a line of posts over several years  with  opinions that make you wonder if the Chinese tractor industry has any future at all. The one thing that all these contributors have in common is that not one of them has ever owned a Foton tractor or dealt with Foton Tractors! Then on May 13th 2013 the comments below were posted. I have only just found them. So are Foton Tractors any good? I can confirm the author of the comments is a customer of Foton Tractors  and has been an absolute gentleman to deal with,  like most of our customers. A big thank you to Elie for your business and your kind words.

I bought my Foton tractor from that company, and they are VERY OK ! Honest people.

As for the tractor itself:
– This company was much cheaper than the official French importer, who charged around €4.000,00 more. A dealer, just a few miles from where I live, charged €2.500,00 more that the UK seller. The latter, I assume, where a dealership from the French Ardennes based dealer/importer, who also sells ‘other brands’ (Europard, Geo, Eurotrac = the same machine) and another brand. Now, I’ve visited this company, and decided never to buy from them.
– The tractor itself: you get a lot of tractor for your money. The few flaws where minor (assembling) and were easily repaired by me. I was compensated for that by the dealer.
– I had one flaw after the warranty was ended, but David, the Kent dealer send me a spare, free of charge. Look for such a service elsewhere… And they have the spare-parts.
– Disadvantages of this tractor: in wintertime and for small jobs, you won’t the engine at normal temperature because it has a permanently driven fan, attached to the water pump. This results in more consumption, more pollution and more wear over time. I solved that problem by removing the fan (= easy) and installing a 12V fan, bought on eBay UK for a few pounds (sold as tune-up for VW Golf). Fits good. Plus a thermocouple (85°C) of less than €1,00 from a Chinese eBay seller (shipping incl.). Besides that, I installed an emergency switch on the dashboard, in case the thermocouple wouldn’t function. But never had to use it. Now, with this upgrade: I have a tractor that is a marvel ! I don’t have an idea about the cooling of the other brand
– From the Foton Tractor Company (Kent), I received all the papers to register the machine in France. European papers. Because the French sell them also: no problem to register. I still need to do it myself, but be aware that you need to make it road legal: mirrors (cheap in the UK), warning light (revolving), numberplate light. You need to let it be inspected by an inspection station. No big deal. If you don’t need to go on the road: no need of course to register.
– The servicing (maintenance) I do myself. With lots of experience in car repair, I needed to adjust just a bit to be able to service this tractor.
In short: very satisfied about the machine and the seller.
Best wishes to all,
Elie.

Name  available [contact author]

Forum Address available [contact author]

 

 

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Choosing the right tractor for the right price

FT250-254There is a huge range of tractors available in the market nowadays so ensure that you clearly establish your requirements before making a decision of what you purchase and where  you purchase it. Will you be using the tractor for mowing, cultivating, growing plants or perhaps landscaping jobs? A Foton compact tractor of 28 -40hp will carry out all these tasks. These tractors are smaller editions of the traditional farm tractor and are able to do a variety of jobs that range from mowing your lawn or paddock to a lot more heavy-duty landscaping jobs. With all the appropriate implements, the Foton tractor can do jobs like digging, hauling, mowing or perhaps ploughing, making it useful for a wide variety of applications.

Should you own a smallholding, equestrian yard, school, golf club, park or anything similar a Foton tractor can assist you mechanise the more complex jobs like tilling, ploughing, mowing and also sowing . Do you want your Foton tractor to perform a lot more jobs like loading and  excavating? Then perhaps consider a Foton tractor  that allows for implements like power loaders or perhaps back hoes to be easily installed.

Once all the above has been considered and you have decided on the size and specification of your tractor then consider how much you want to pay for it. There are the major brands for which you could pay up to 3 times as much as a “New World” built tractor from China or  Korea. Some of the offerings from the “major European  manufacturers” are from that region and come with a European price tag!  The main consideration has to be will it do the job, is it reliable and can I get back up if I need it. Since 2008 we have been in a serious financial down turn, budgets have been slashed but the Foton tractor business has increased year on year. The reason is that the larger buyers like County Councils still have the work but not the budget so they have been buying less expensive Foton tractors found them to be more than capable and purchased more. One customer now has a fleet of 22 Foton  FT254 & FT250 tractors because they are great value for money and get the job done.

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New Citrax Trimmy Hedge/Verge cutters for 2014

Hedge TrimmerThe Citrax Trimmy  is perfect for amenity and estate use and is favoured by small holders, farmers and private users as it can verge mow or hedge trim just as well as larger machines run by contractors. This makes it an affordable option for the smaller user who wants to cut  their own hedges and verges.

The compact Trimmy  hedge cutter / verge cutter  is suited for 18/30 HP tractors. These  side arm flail mowers and hedge cutters are specifically designed for compact tractors, with a choice of flail and finger bar cutting heads. Trimmy  / Trimmy Evo are for tractors of  18hp – 30hp . Reach up to 4.5m with cable or electric controls – Safety mechanical lock for transport on the road – Connection by 5 points giving mechanical security – Stabilizers – Fast connection to the tractor – Super rotation kit for the cutter-bar – Special top link connection for tractors with only one top link position. All these are standard features

Citrax  Trimmy – uses oil from the tractor – minimum flow  30 litre p/m

Citrax Trimmy Evo – 40 litre integral oil tank

Prices start from £3500

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Antifreeze – When was it last checked?


Tractor antifreeze checkAntifreeze Check

With the coldest of the winter weather still to come the condition of the antifreeze in your tractor is important

When supplied new all  Foton tractors  are filled with a blue glycol based antifreeze. Antifreeze has a finite life and needs checking periodically, the blue glycol based antifreeze  has a  life of about two years and then starts to degrade. Don’t worry it doesn’t suddenly become ineffective but it does drop off in performance and  need changing to make sure your engine is protected from extreme cold. Should the coolant freeze the pressure will almost certainly crack the block of the engine either internally or externally. If you want to do this yourself a hydrometer will be needed, they are widely available from most motor factors.

You might not need to flush and recharge your  tractor’s radiator with new coolant each year; however, seasonal evaluation of water-based coolants with a hydrometer is highly recommended. Wait until the tractor engine has cooled. Cover the radiator cap with a cloth, turn a half revolution to check for any remaining pressure, and remove.

Check inside the filler neck for debris of any kind, indicating a need to flush the system. If you find none, insert the hydrometer hose into the neck, squeeze the bulb and release to fill the column. The “freeze” scale on one side of the hydrometer indicates the freezing point of the solution. It should register less than negative zero degrees C. The reverse side displays the boiling point. Fully effective coolant should indicate a boiling point above 130 degrees C. If either freezing- or boiling-point requirements aren’t met, flush and replace the coolant.

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Vineyard & Narrow tractor FT504N added to the Foton range

Narrow TractorFoton expands its tractor line up in the UK with a new narrow-width, low-profile tractor – the CITRAX 504 – specifically for use in vineyards, orchards and other tight row crops. “This new Foton tractor can be used anywhere that room is tight.

The Foton mechanical front drive model measures just 955mm wide, making it ideal for tight spaces. With the rugged build quality expected from a Foton tractor. The CITRAX 504 is equipped with a quiet and efficient 4 cylinder Jiang Dong engine.

The Foton CITRAX 504 is available with a versatile, 8×8 or 16×8 meshing bush transmission, both versions features ideal ground speed selections for all tasks in all ranges. A top speed of 17 mph or 30 km/h, depending on tyres is obtainable. Both Foton CITRAX models have dedicated right-hand synchronized mechanical shuttle control.

The tractor comes with a three-point cat 1 hitch that provides 3500 pounds of lift capacity, mechanical draft control and raise/lower function with easy operation . Hydraulic output is 23 /L per minute (LPM) which is available to the implement.

The power take off (PTO) on Foton CITRAX 504 tractors is mechanically engaged using a convenient lever. It is also equipped with a 540/1000 rpm PTO and an independent parking brake.

The Foton CITRAX 504 is available as a ROPS open platform or full-cab model. Foton ROPS tractors feature a foldable, mid-mount rollbar, , and a comfortable seat. Cab models are fittedwith integral ROPS. In addition, cab tractor features a heater and tinted glass, front and rear wipers and washers, cab doors on both sides with locks, rearview mirrors and light.

“If you have a big job to do with only a narrow space to get it done, with a Foton CITRAX tractor offers operators the size, power and flexibility you require at a price you can afford.

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