Signs of better times ahead
by Service Dealer Ireland Editor, Alan Mahon
Alan Mahon

The Irish business climate appears to be in a much favourable position now than it has been for several years.


Over the past twelve to eighteen months, Service Dealer Ireland has been reporting on the downturn of tractor sales in Ireland and in Europe. Only last month the Farm Tractor and Machinery Trade Association (FTMTA) reported that registrations of new tractors were 23% lower in May 2024 compared to May 2023. That is a significant drop by anyone’s standard.


However, there are signs of better times ahead. The Irish business climate appears to be in a much favourable position now than it has been for several years. On the 6th of June last the European Central Bank (ECB) lowered its interest rates by 0.25%, bringing rates from 4% to 3.75%. This is the first time they have done so since September 2019. The ECB is expected to make another rate cut before the end of the year. Some optimists even predict two interest rate cuts by year end, but we will have to wait and see if that happens. 


Having lower interest rates is good for business. It makes it a bit easier to repay loans. Some dealers may be considering expanding their premises or even moving to a bigger site. Capital investment requires a lot of money. The ability to pay back a loan looks to be much better now than it was a year ago. However, convincing your bank manager to give you a loan may be another day’s work. The banks got bitten hard during the financial crash in 2008 when they readily gave out loans. They haven’t forgotten that lesson.


Lower interest rates not only affect our business loans. The ability to repay loans will also favour some of our customers. Given that interest rates are heading in the right direction, sports facilities, such as golf and football clubs, may be tempted to invest in new machinery. Farmers and growers may also be enticed to purchase new tractors. If that happens it should reverse the familiar downturn in tractor sales to more positive figures.


Another indication of favourable business conditions ahead is that inflation is starting to drop. This is good news for both customer and business owner. For businesses, lower inflation should ease the pressure on wage demands. As for our customers, their purchasing power will be much stronger in a low inflationary environment. That should bode well for the dealer network, especially those selling into the domestic market.


Energy prices are also falling, which means that the cost of running your dealership will be a lot less than it was this time last year. Unless another invasion or war starts, energy costs should remain stable leading into the winter.


Maybe now is the time to put more effort into your advertising and branding? It is important to get your name out into the marketplace. With lower interest rates, energy costs and inflation, people will have more disposable income.


In conclusion may I remind you that the GLAS trade exhibition takes place on Thursday 18th July at the National Basketball Arena. If you want to attend, then you must pre-register by visiting www.glasireland.ie Should you need more information you can call Eamonn Maguire on 087 1235167. GLAS is continuing its expansion into the sports surfaces and grounds maintenance sector. Part of this year’s exhibition will feature an outdoor machinery area that will include demonstrations.

Robotic delivery
The Cargills

In our WEB ONLY story today, Lely have celebrated the delivery of its 50,000th robot, marking a significant milestone for the manufacturer.


Organised by manufacturer
Careers event

The bespoke event for service leavers involved dealers from across the UK.


John Deere say they have seen an influx of applications to its Military Hiring Programme after hosting a bespoke event for service leavers involving dealers from across the UK. 



Held at the company’s UK headquarters in Langar, Nottinghamshire, the event gave armed forces personnel the chance to have detailed discussions about what the next stage of their career could look like working with one the world’s biggest machinery manufacturers. 


The event was supported by ten of the manufacturers dealers - Thomas Sheriff, Cornthwaite Group, Ripon Farm Services, Ben Burgess, Tuckwells, Farol, Tallis Amos Group, Hunt Forest Group, Smallridge Bros, and Masons Kings.


The resettlement programme for military service personnel offers new career opportunities working on agricultural and professional groundscare products. 


Members of the armed forces have been identified as ideal candidates to bring their unique skill sets and experience to technician roles within UK and Ireland dealerships as many have already worked with systems and products similar to those used by John Deere. 


Those who enrol onto the programme are put into contact with an individual from the John Deere network who have resettled themselves, who will guide them through the next steps which includes free training courses before finding employment with a John Deere dealer.



“What was really successful about the day was the amount of conversation between military personnel and dealers,” said Allan Cochran, branch training manager for John Deere.


“Everybody wanted to talk, everybody wanted to engage with the event, and I think everyone that was there, both military and dealers, got something out of it.”


The event drew a positive number of applications to the Military Hiring Programme, with 23 ex-servicemen now waiting for the next step to start their new career.


The company say their programme has drawn interest from across the country, with attendees travelling from not just the surrounding Midlands, but also from as far as Cornwall and Scotland.


“To have people coming from all the country is really great to see,” says Allan. “We have dealers in all corners of the nation, and with the largest proportion of people wanting to resettle wherever they are based now, we can make that happen.”


As well as dealers and staff, attendees also had the opportunity to listen to those who had been through the Military Hiring Programme themselves and were now a part of the dealership network. Ex-servicemen Martin Frodsham, Will Foster and Mike Rogers spoke about their journey and what their career has been like since leaving the armed forces and becoming technicians.


Attendees also heard from John Deere instructors who showed them the machines that they would be working on should they apply to join John Deere, with a focus on precision agriculture and what the future looks like for agricultural technology.


Global partnership announced
Yvette Henshall-Bell, Husqvarna's president Europe, Forest & Garden Division

Manufacturer becomes the official groundskeeping partner of the Premier League club in the first partnership of its kind for both parties.


Husqvarna this week announced a new partnership with Liverpool Football Club.


Yvette Henshall-Bell, Husqvarna's president Europe, Forest & Garden Division


As part of the multi-year global agreement, the manufacture will become the official groundskeeping partner of the Premier League giants, the first partnership of its kind for both parties.  

Since 2021, LFC has been using Husqvarna robotic mowers to maintain the green spaces at AXA Training Centre, and AXA Melwood Training Centre, supporting the grounds management team to ensure that LFC’s playing surfaces continue to be of the highest standard for players. Through this new partnership, Husqvarna say their equipment and solutions will be more deeply integrated into LFC’s groundskeeping teams’ daily routines and pitch upkeep, making it a key part of creating and maintaining optimal pitch conditions for elite level playing and training. 
Ben Latty, chief commercial officer at LFC said, “We are thrilled to announce this partnership between Liverpool FC and Husqvarna, two premium market leaders united by their shared values and innovative approach. We have developed ambitious commercial targets to attract the best brands that fit with Liverpool Football Club, and that can also help drive further success on the pitch. Husqvarna’s reputation for quality and innovation in grounds maintenance is unmatched, and we look forward to working closely with them to ensure our facilities continue to be maintained to the highest possible standards.” 


A groundbreaking line-up is revealed!

LFC will help raise Husqvarna’s global profile through what the manufacturer describes as "bespoke content and activations using its award-winning social platforms" - which enjoy a combined global following of 186 million. Additionally, Husqvarna branding will also be featured on the digital LED boards during matches, reaching over 400 million TV viewers per season around the world.
Yvette Henshall-Bell, president Europe, Forest & Garden Division at Husqvarna, added, “We are incredibly excited about the partnership with Liverpool Football Club, a globally recognised and prestigious institution that also shares our values, innovative approach and commitment to sustainability, it is truly a perfect match! Together, we bring unparalleled experiences to fans and customers worldwide and we look forward achieving great things on and off the field.”

2024's Service Dealer Conference & Awards
Service Dealer Conference & Awards

Another company is returning to support Service Dealer's November event once again.


The Service Dealer Conference & Awards which takes place in November, has today announced another sponsor who will be joining us on the day.



Ibcos are returning, once again as a GOLD Sponsor.



Service Dealer owner Duncan Murray-Clarke said, "We have so much great content lined-up for our dealer delegates to benefit from again this year, we can't wait to begin to reveal details.


"Before then though, we are so pleased today to be able to welcome back our great friends at Ibcos, who have chosen to support our event dedicated to the dealer network once again."


James Buchanan, sales director at Ibcos, added, “We’re excited to announce that we will be a Gold Sponsor at this years’ Service Dealer Conference & Awards.


"We thoroughly enjoy sponsoring this event as it’s a great opportunity to meet with industry experts and share best practices with our customers."


The theme for this year's Service Dealer Conference has been announced as Driving Success and it will take place, along with the Dealer Of The Year Awards, once again at the Crowne Plaza, Stratford-Upon-Avon on Thursday 28th November 2024.


For more information on how you can be a part of the event and to stay updated on conference news visit our website or follow us on social media @servicedealer

On new manufacturing facility
The groundbreaking ceremony

Company says new factory will increase capacity for compact track and skid-steer loader model production.


Bobcat held a ceremonial groundbreaking on 13th June 2024 for its new 280-million EUR manufacturing facility in Mexico. 


The groundbreaking ceremony


Located in the Salinas Victoria municipality, outside of Monterrey in the state of Neuvo Leon, Mexico, the 65,000 sqm facility is expected to be operational in 2026.  


The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by Bobcat representatives, elected officials and area business leaders. 


The new location, which was announced in 2023, will expand the manufacturer's existing global footprint to create additional production capacity and manufacturing capabilities for select compact track and skid-steer loader models. Bobcat’s compact loaders are also produced in the U.S. and the Czech Republic where production will remain following the new facility opening.  


“We have seen tremendous growth across our business, and this new facility will support our long-range plans for increased production to meet customer demand,” said Scott Park, Doosan Bobcat CEO and Vice Chairman. 


Bobcat say the manufacturing facility will seek LEED Silver certification and feature state-of-the-art technology with an emphasis on quality, precision and energy efficiency.


The new factory is expected to create 600 to 800 jobs in the region. 

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