Celebrating its 35th anniversary this coming winter, Agricar – a main dealership for New Holland – has kicked the year off with a bang after securing two titles, ‘Service Dealer of the Year’ and ‘Medium TIV Dealer of the Year’ at the New Holland 2020 Dealer of the Year Awards.

These prestigious awards celebrate excellence in performance and service quality across New Holland’s extensive UK and Ireland network of 53 dealers, which cover 125 locations across the UK and Ireland.

Due to the current Covid-19 UK restrictions, the awards were announced during an online presentation on April 22, 2021, and were presented by New Holland Agriculture’s vice-president for EMEA sales and marketing, Sean Lennon, at the manufacturer’s recent dealer conference.

“It’s always fantastic to receive recognition for everyone’s dedication and hard work, and we are very fortunate to have a great team of staff behind us,” commented one of Agricar’s directors, Derek Johnston. “We have an experienced team and we are constantly evolving to ensure we meet the requirements of our customers and an ever-changing market.””

Agricar had enjoyed previous success in the annual award programme having clinched New Holland’s ‘Overall Dealer of the Year’ award, as well at the ‘Telehandler Dealer of the Year’ title, back in 2019.

Pat Smith, New Holland’s business director for the UK and ROI commented: “Last year, 2020 was a strong year across the whole range for New Holland, with gains in every product line thanks to the tremendous efforts from our dealer network.

“And, 2021 has started strongly but will be a challenging year for many reasons and we are very lucky to have a strong dealer network backed up by our manufacturing plant in Basildon and parts facility in Daventry.

“We have put additional resources in the field to mitigate the challenges and look forward to building on our successes of 2020,” he added.

From it’s establishment in 1986 by Jim Johnston and John Milne – after completing a management buyout of the original Forfar and Montrose depots – Agricar currently employs 122 staff, achieved a turnover of £37m and have retained company parts stock in excess of £1m which helps to maintain a speedy service delivery system.

As well as the agricultural side of the business, there is also an electrical services business located in both Forfar and Brechin that trades as Ness Electrical.

Ness Plant is the newest part of the business and specialises in selling the complete Manitou product range from both the Brechin and Kinross depots.

Another string to the company’s bow was the launch of Agricar Group Finance in 2011 which, as a credit broker, enabled a provision for finance to be offered to both Agricar Group customers and the wider agricultural and business marketplace.

“I believe what sets us apart from other dealerships is the fact that we pride ourselves in being a family business, with family values. We strive to provide our customers with a quality product, with a quality aftersales support,” said Derek.

“We are specialists at what we do and we are always looking to introduce innovative ideas that separate us from everyone else.

“We have set up a group structure whereby we have our Group Sales Manager, Colin Duthie, Group Parts Manager, Derek Barclay and our Group Service Manager Iain Howat.

With this structure in place, we firmly believe this has been a large contributing factor to receiving these national awards.

“We are at the forefront of developing and working with New Holland and their telematics system which will enable us to diagnose faults remotely and will help us to achieve a ‘first time fix’, which is what we are always aiming for as this will reduce downtime to the customer,” he added.

Agricar’s strategically located six depots are throughout Scotland, including: Laurencekirk, Forfar, Blairgowrie, Perth, Stirling and Dundonald, which enables them to cover their Dealer Area of Responsibility (DAR) where quality customer service is constantly at the fore.

In a bid to ensure all potential customers are being reached, the company have also improved their marketing.

“Our online marketing presence is constantly improving and we are focussing on keeping our social media channels and website up-to-date. We have a dedicated member of staff to specifically focus on all marketing activities including the social media side of the business – it’s a sign of the times,” Derek added.

Like many other business’ up and down the country, Covid-19 too impacted Agricar changing the way in which they operated on a day to day basis. Whilst some staff were furloughed all depots remained opened during the pandemic and most importantly the customer base remained supported.

“Covid-19 was a difficult year but a challenge that we didn’t back away from. We did notice that the market for our larger value items, such as tractors and combines, were back on the previous year. However, although the mix of sales changed the overall volume didn’t change.

“Our sales team worked remotely from home, with only a handful of on-farms visits taking place via appointment. Our apprentices had to be furloughed as social distancing in the workshops wasn’t practical. However, we are pleased to have everyone back in the workplace and we are slowly returning to some sort of normality,” explained Derek.

With New Holland’s top quality machinery being manufactured in Basildon, Essex and also in Turin, Italy, Agricar are enjoying some positive feedback about the brand’s new T5 tractor range.

“New Holland have introduced a new gearbox called a Dynamic Command Transmission (DCT), which was originally in their T6 range but now also features in the T5 range.

“The feedback we are receiving from our customers about this introduction is really good and encouraging, with sales in the T5 range picking up more as a result,” commented Derek.

As well as brand new equipment, Agricar also provide a wide range of second-hand machinery, which are a popular option for customers.

“The second-hand machinery always sell well with our customers. However, following Brexit things have changed in regards to the paperwork and documentation attached to the machinery going for export. We have to be vigilant about cross contamination on any machine – so all are thoroughly cleaned before being sold.”

Throughout their 35 years, the one thing that has remained true is their commitment to their mainline franchise, New Holland and it seems that Agricar are looking forward to the many years to come.

“We have a very good working relationship with New Holland and with a change in personnel, our teams are working closer than they’ve ever been before.

“We like that New Holland are forward thinking and their products sell well, offering a large selection including tractors, harvesting equipment, telehandlers, construction kit, grassland machinery and cultivation equipment.

“As a company, we never want to be standing still and are constantly looking at ways to be at the forefront of the market. New Holland’s plans are always to grow so it will be interesting to see what they have planned for their future portfolio of products. Our customers need and deserve a good quality product and backup.

“We will be constantly adapting and improving to the ever-changing market to ensure our customers old and new are supported.”

New Holland Awards List:

Main category winners:

  • Overall Dealer of the Year: Russells
  • Medium TIV Dealer of the Year: Agricar
  • Small TIV Dealer of the Year: T Alun Jones and Son
  • Ireland Dealer of the Year: MC and S Agri Sales

Product line category winners:

  • Telehandler Dealer of the Year: Malpas
  • Construction Equipment Dealer of the Year: T Alun Jones and Son
  • Hay and Forage Dealer of the Year: TH White Agriculture
  • Implements Dealer of the Year: Francis Bugler
  • Service Dealer of the Year: Agricar
  • Combine Dealer of the Year: Lloyd
  • Parts Dealer of the Year: G and J Peck
  • Tractor Dealer of the Year: Haynes Agricultural