KIOTI equipment dealers recently climbed in the cab of the company's new skid loader and track loader to move dirt and familiarize themselves with the capabilities of the machines before they arrive in showrooms later this year.
The ride-and-drive event at an off-road, all-terrain vehicle park near Orlando, Florida, was part of KIOTI's 2021 dealer meeting late last year at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort. Dealers also drove tractors, mowers and utility vehicles, including the new KIOTI K9 2400 Cab. Various implements and attachments, such as grapple buckets and scrapers, were also available to test.
Greg Bibee, KIOTI's director of strategic sales and marketing, says the company known for its lineup of tough, dependable and affordable compact tractors and equipment continually strives to satisfy customer requests and needs. That inspired the company to enter the skid loader and track loader market, and offer a utility vehicle with more creature comforts.
"We offer a fantastic value for all our products," Bibee claims. "It's not just having a low price but the total package for the money. That's where we excel with all our equipment."
Jeff Scherbring, owner of Kalmes Implement Co., in Altura, Minnesota, contends farmers and acreage owners tend to gravitate toward KIOTI for equipment to maintain their land and do jobs when high-horsepower and high-dollar equipment aren't needed.
"That's where KIOTI thrives. Their products are smaller and easy to operate," says Scherbring, who's been a KIOTI dealer for three years. He's also a Case IH dealer.
KIOTI Tractor, a division of Daedong-USA Inc., has supplied tractors in the 22- to 110-hp range to the U.S. and Canadian markets for more than 30 years. It entered the UTV market in 2009 and first offered zero-turn mowers in 2019. There's more than 450 KIOTI dealerships in North America.
SKID LOADER AND TRACK LOADER
KIOTI jumped feet first into the compact skid loader and track loader market with the SL750 and TL750. Scherbring expects the machines to be popular with beef and dairy farmers, as well as contractors.
"If you have something that is price competitive, easy to work on and operate, it will sell," he continues.
Preliminary machine specs include:
-- 73.8-hp diesel engine
-- loader hydraulic pressure: 3,335 pounds per square
-- rated operating capacity: 2,689 pounds for the SL750 and 2,300 pounds for the TL750
-- lift height to hinge pin: 126.6 inches for the SL750 and 126.4 inches for the TL750.
Preliminary standard equipment: LED front and rear work lights, E-H joystick controls, overhead sliding front door, in-cab display, auxiliary hydraulics, suspension seat, FOPS (falling object protective structure) level II, 2-inch seat belt.
Preliminary optional equipment: 2-speed high-flow auxiliary hydraulics, ride control, heat and air-conditioning, air-ride suspension seat, Bluetooth radio, precleaner, rear-view camera and 7-pin connector.
Jason Boerger, KIOTI product line manager for compact construction equipment, says feedback from farmers who have tested the loaders and dealers who drove them in December were positive. Some testing and changes are ongoing.
"People like the wide, comfortable cab and the overhead door that makes it easier to get in and out of the machine," Boerger says. "There's a lot of steel protection for hydraulic couplers, and they like that hydraulic hoses are routed so they aren't exposed to reduce the chance of snagging."
Pricing has not been determined, but Boerger says customers will "find value."
New for 2022 in KIOTI's utility vehicle lineup is the K9 2400 with a factory-installed cab. It allows people to work year-round in comfort.
KIOTI entered the utility vehicle market more than a decade ago with the Mechron series featuring a 22-hp engine and a 1,598-pound payload capacity. In 2018, the company introduced the K9 series with a 24-hp engine and enhanced features such as power steering.
Make no mistake, KIOTI utility vehicles are considered workhorses.
"It's for general use around the farm," Bibee says. "We only offer diesel engines. They (customers) are hauling feed, straw and hay bales, hauling fenceposts and running fencelines, and depending where you are at, plowing snow.
"Customers are also starting to appreciate more of the creature comforts, ergonomics and additional capabilities," he adds, the catalyst for the new model.
The factory-installed full-size cab has heat and air-conditioning, a tilt-opening windshield and a Bluetooth audio system. Other features of the K9 2400 Cab include:
-- CVT transmission with engine braking capabilities
-- 1,300-pound towing capacity
-- adjustable suspension
-- electric power steering
-- standard spray-in bed liner
-- illuminated dashboard
-- noise and vibration reduction.
Bibee expects the K9 2400 Cab to be available at dealers in the first quarter of 2022. The price tag is in the low $20,000 range, depending on options.
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