Opinion- New Yanmar
Some customers are starting to ask my opinion of the new Yanmars that are being sold in the USA again. These would be the slick, ultra-modern looking YT235, YT347, YT359, SA221, SA324, SA424, and even the "Cub Cadet / Yanmar" models from a few years ago. This is my opinion of these new machines. Keep in mind this is only my personal opinion based only on the information that I have gathered myself.
First off, the new machines are certainly high end. The styling is not really my taste but the look is definitely unique and fresh. There is no mistaking these tractors for one of the other brands. The cab models are amazing! Plush, quiet, and loaded with state-of-the-art features. The IHMT ( Integrated Hydraulic Mechanical Transmission) transmission is a mechanical masterpiece. The A/B speed controls are a beyond handy. These are, absolutely, the the tractors to have if you are interested in comfort, quality, and advanced features.
Do I want one? Absolutely! Would I personally buy one? Nope. And here is why:
First, and most importantly, I love technology. The more buttons and knobs the better. I'm not hating on Yanmar because of the technology. I love it! I'm simply not convinced Yanmar is going to be around to help me FIX it when it brakes. And it will eventually brake.
Yanmar has been in the US market before and they left. Abruptly. Leaving thousands of Yanmar owners (and dealers) to fend for themselves. Then they did the strange Cub Cadet/Yanmar thing for a few years. There are reports that many of those customers and dealers were also left in a state of disarray. Sure, Yanmar has invested metric truckloads of cash in this newest entry into the US market and they are doing so under their own "Yanmar" brand this time. So why would they leave again? They might not have any say in the matter. The compact tractor market is brutally competitive right now and Yanmar, in my opinion, is priced very high for a brand that is not well established here yet. For a lot less money you can get a Mahindra, New Holland, Case, or Kioti. For the same or little less money you can often get a new Deere or Kubota. Green and Orange brand loyalty is a force to be reckoned with and if Yanmar can't get a foot-hold here and make money- they will eventually be forced to leave again.
Yanmar's customers were in luck last time Yanmar left because the tractors at that time were super simple. Anyone could work on them. You can take the 1970's model YM series tractors to any shade tree mechanic and get it serviced. There is no need to visit a dealer. This new breed of tractor is the polar opposite of those older tractors.
These new tractors are about as complicated as it gets. Many features can not even be diagnosed without proprietary software or computer equipment which is only available to dealers. Take a look at Yanmars new IHMT transmission in the video link below. It is a work of mechanical art... but can you imagine trying to troubleshoot that thing or repair it yourself? You can change your travel speed and engine speed independently with a twist of a knob and have two presets that can be switched back and forth with the click of a button. Want 2200rpm engine speed and 6mph travel speed for mowing and then want to drop down to 2000rpm and 2mph for turning at the end of the field? Just save it to your presets and change with the click of a button. No touching the throttle. No touching the clutch. No touching a gear shift. Folks... this is not 'small town mechanic' type stuff. The engineer in the video is even having trouble explaining how it functions! If Yanmar pulls out of the USA where are you going to get this stuff serviced? Sure, Yanmar is a massive global company (even larger than John Deere in the global marketplace). The company itself will be around forever but you are not going to send your tractor to Japan to get fixed. You need a dealer network within a reasonable driving distance and I'm not 100% convinced I'll be able to find one in a few years.
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