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McCormick main dealer Andrew Downing has invested heavily in recent years to make sure customers get the service they need. Pictured (l-r) new recruit storeman Gary Pottle, with engineer Joe Brooks, Andrew and Charles Downing.

X4 models are ideal for smallholdings and vegetable growers locally. We have just sold the first X4, 2wd without a cab to a pumpkin grower. He already operates two McCormicks, but with its folding roll bar the X4 is ideal for operating in fields or poly-tunnels where the pumpkins are ripened,” he added.

Premium brand

Success through service A family-owned Cambridgeshire agricultural dealer is determined to offer the same great customer experience for sales and parts as it already offers for service. David Williams visited the expanding business. Andrew Downing has always had a passion for agriculture and the machinery needed by farmers and contractors. He worked for a main dealer for nine years before training others to be successful engineers at a technical college, then worked for Case International as a service manager until being made redundant when the company closed its March, Cambs, retail outlet. He then became a full-time agricultural engineer as a ‘man with a van’, later operating from a workshop, providing on-site repairs to local farms. Having taken on additional staff to help meet demand, he realised that a means of moving heavy machinery around was needed and bought his first lorry. Knowing Andrew had the lorry available meant other dealers in the area were quick to come forward with transport tasks, which meant additional lorries were needed. Now the business includes a successful haulage operation running three articulated low loaders and a rigid lorry with a crane, relies on three full-time workshop engineers to meet agricultural service demands and has recently appointed a storeman. New machinery sales have joined the service work as a key part of the business and he is looking to take on more staff in the near future. Trading as A Downing Agricultural Engineers, the company operates from Gorefield, Cambs, just a few miles from Wisbech. Apart from the haulage business, which is almost

exclusively transporting agricultural machinery around the UK and Europe, most customers are within 35 miles of the company base.

Sales grew from service “We began selling machinery when our service customers needed to buy new equipment, asked our advice and reasoned that if we were going to look after it for them, then we should supply it too,” explained Andrew. “We have always had a good relationship with other main dealers in our area and easily sourced product to supply.” Andrew was granted a sub-dealer code by Case IH in 2004 and sold several tractors over the following few years. His previous service experience made it a natural choice to supply, but he was also asked for McCormick tractors by customers valuing the Doncaster link. “There was limited support for McCormick users in our area but we had become aware of the improving specification and quality as we sourced the tractors from other dealers in the region. Many farmers are keen to invest in machines that are reliable, with all the essential features, but which are priced competitively and McCormick fits this requirement perfectly. Larger models planned for the range including the X8 with 310hp will appeal to larger arable farms and we believe they will be very successful,” he said. Andrew’s two sons have joined the business. Charles spends most of his time on service and repairs and was the City & Guilds Gold Medal Winner in Land-Based Service and

Engineering for 2012 and George looks after the transport, and makes deliveries around the UK and Europe. Following a meeting with McCormick distributor AgriArgo UK Ltd managing director Ray Spinks in January 2014, Andrew became an official main dealer, covering Cambridgeshire, parts of Norfolk and Lincolnshire, and almost four years later he has no regrets. “The product has proved almost totally reliable and the standard warranty is excellent, although extended service and warranty packages are available, allowing users to fix their costs. Parts back up is superb and if a part isn’t in stock in the UK then it can be obtained from Italy overnight. Our best seller so far has been the X60.40, replaced by the X6 Series and at 120hp it’s a cracking tractor. All models from the X4, X6 and X7 range have proved popular and the small

Andrew says most sales successes have come from customer demonstrations. “The ride quality, particularly of the 50kph models, is second to none and we offer CVT transmission on X6 and X7 models, making it easy to obtain maximum performance. We run X6 and X7 and fruit tractor demonstrators including an X6.440LS and an X7.660 Efficient and a V90 fruit tractor. There is a significant price advantage compared to other premium brand tractors offered by other dealers in the area and once a potential buyer has found out that the McCormick does the same on the road and in the field, then the financial saving alone makes the McCormick an obvious choice,” he said. “We have recently sold an X7 to a large arable farm nearby. It replaced another premium brand, and the on-farm demonstration proved it was a worthy replacement with superior performance and an attractive price.”

Additional brands offered Since taking on McCormick, Andrew has expanded his sales operation to include Ovlac ploughs - taken on in February this year and NC Trailers added shortly after. Pegoraro, which makes power harrows and Morra Machinery, which offers a range of rakes and tedders, are both owned by the Morra family which also owns continued over...

The new showroom offers a one-stop shop for local farms including service parts and sundries, workshop tools and lighting. Storeman Gary Pottle is delighted to be working for a dealer where customer service is the main priority.

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