The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition)
One of ‘the biggest changes in decades’ for machinery sector
Think about the words ‘tractors’ and ‘vertical restraints’ and minds will surely turn to things like seatbelts or maybe load straps.
However, there is a very different alternative meaning wrapped up in EU jargon. Erik Hogervorst, chairman of Climmar, the umbrella organisation for the European agricultural machinery trade, was at Ingliston over the last few days to meet some of his members and explain to them some fundamental changes which will affect the way they operate.
Vertical restraints are to do with restrictive trade practices.
The removal of these restraints will open up the servicing and repair sector, bringing the tractor industry in line with the car and truck sectors.
An EU directive, likely to be enforced from 2018 onwards, will make it illegal for manufacturers to withhold servicing and maintenance information from dealers for other makes, or indeed dealers and agents without any franchises.
The same move in the car industry saw garages equipping themselves with universal diagnostic equipment for all makes, and the manufacturers themselves having to make sure that such equipment could be connected to their vehicles.
“The argument is that this is in the consumers’ interest.
“It will undoubtedly change the earning model for dealers,” said Mr Hogervorst.
“This is going to happen and we have to encourage our members to go with it.”
It will, of course, involve a great deal of technician training.
Alastair Straker of the British Agricultural and Garden Machinery Association said: “This is one of the biggest changes in decades for our members.”
Founded in 1953, Climmar represents members from 15 countries. At present it represents more than 17,000 dealers and nearly 200,000 employees with a turnover in excess of 41.3 billion euros
Mr Hogervorst, who is a machinery and sprayer specialist in the flower-growing area of the Netherlands, said Climmar would also be focusing on an integrated EU national sprayer testing scheme under the Sustainable Use Directive.
This would, however, have little effect in the UK, he believed, because the existing National Sprayer Testing Scheme (NSTS) set high standards.