What is the issue about grey market tractors

Posted by petermain on August 14th, 2019

Grey market tractors are often talked about, or written about ,in slightly hushed tones, as if there was something slightly under the table or under the counter about them. They also talked about often in very unpatriotic terms, as if someone buying them is undercutting people's jobs and livelihoods in their own country.

It is properly worth clarifying what a grey market tractor is, and what the pros and cons are of buying them. In general terms, a great market tractor is one that has been built for another market, and then imported into a third country.

As an example, a tractor may be built in Japan, and intended for sale in the Japanese market. This tractor could then be imported, into the United States and sold under the manufacturers brand. This would be known as a grey market tractor.

The advantage to many people is really about price. Whilst it is difficult to generalise about great market prices, it is fair to say that a grey market tractor that was brand new could well be sold for about half the price of the equivalent tractor made for the home market.

Given the price of tractors and agricultural machinery, where costs can run into tens of thousands of US dollars, savings of that magnitude can be enormous, and can make a huge difference to someone's ability to run a farm or run construction machinery.

While savings on cost, in terms of list price, can be significant, there are other financial considerations as well as mechanical and safety considerations to take into account.

There are some legal precedents that imply that grey market tractors are illegal, and the importation of them breaks a number of basic state and federal laws in the United States.

Many people will argue that the main argument against grey market tractors however , is often they lack the safety features that are built into models made for a particular market, such as the United States.

Any tractor manufactured for sale in the US must comply with fairly rigid safety laws and regulations.

A tractor made for a foreign market, and then shipped into the United States will not necessarily have been built to the same exacting standards that US tractors must adhere to.

This is particularly true of things regarding safety, such as the fitting of an ROPS, a safety cabin and other safety features.

There may also be problems in terms of credit and finance when coming to by the tractor. A number of lenders who would normally consider a loan or leasing arrangement will back off the idea if they are aware that it is a grey market tractor.

At the same time, failure to disclose it, if the buyer is aware, would almost certainly be an act of fraud on their part, and could lead to serious financial and legal implications.

The other implications  normally relate to items such as obtaining spare parts, servicing and maintenance and voiding of any warranty that may be purchased or relating to the  particular tractor.

Obviously any manufacturer's warranty would not apply,  and any dealer warranty could run into serious difficulties if contested.

The other consideration that has to be taken into account is the insurance of the tractor. Most tractors need to have some type of liability insurance, when being used on any type of land and also when used on road. Insurance on a grey market tractor would be a very tricky area to navigate, and would most likely only come to light in the event of an insurance claim, or a potential liability suit.

Peter Main is a freelance writer who writes extensively about tractors and agricultural products, with a particular on manufacturers such as Kubota, and the importance of  arranging the right types of finance or credit when looking to buy or lease any piece of machinery.

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