Re: Would anyone be Interested in my Chinese Tractor Experience
So probably best starting with a bit of context, I'm 43yr old City Boy, I work in IT, have done for 20+ years, I surf a desk for a living and don’t lead the most active of lifestyles. In 2018, my wife and I bought a rural property of 120 acres in her home town somewhere in Western Alberta, Canada. She's into horses, we wanted a change of lifestyle as well as being closer to her family and here the adventure starts.
120 acres of land, it’s a lot of land, its classed as pasture, hasn’t been touched for at least 10-15 years, is fenced around the boundary, has some cross fencing and will, eventually, be home to an as of yet unconfirmed number of horses, wife is a bit vague on this……………….we do have a herd of 40 destructive elk, unfortunately, aforementioned wife will not let me reduce this number...…………
Turns out, on top of the skidsteer and attachments that I bought first, a tractor would be a wise investment
Now I wish I could afford a North American made tractor, the fact is, I can't. I priced up a new 75hp JD with front loader and cab, it came in at $75k Canadian, even similar HP used tractors with average hours were still way above my budget. Now a friend of mine back in the UK bought a Chinese crate tractor for his acreage, he did get this through a UK dealer but it got me thinking, could I source a 75HP Chinese tractor from here in Canada for a reasonable price?
Well turns out the answer is "kind of".
Alibaba.com - don’t be afraid of using them in my experience, after all, they are one of the biggest companies on the planet for a reason. It does take a bit of effort to figure what you want, contact suppliers for more info, filter through the "fluff" of the suppliers on there. I've done 2 large successful transactions through Alibaba and another one that didn’t work out, I got a full refund easily and quickly
Here are some tips that worked for me - ignore the prices quoted in the listings, ignore suppliers less than 5yrs old, ignore whether they are a gold supplier or not, ask the question "can you supply and EPA certified engine" first, if they cant, then it saves you further conversation, keep a track of who you've contacted separate to the Alibaba message center, don’t give up your contact details - all communication should go through Alibaba so there's an audit trail, make your payments through Alibaba and not direct to the supplier, expect a delay in response as most people are in China so there is a time delay.
After a bit of time and effort, I had a tractor spec'd out the same as the John Deere and the cost was around 24k Canadian that included Carrier Insured Freight (CIF) to the Port of Vancouver, I'd have to get it from Vancouver to Alberta and also find a customs broker to collect the 5% sales tax and do other "stuff" which would have been around another $2k Canadian on top of that, so about $26K all in or about 1/3rd the cost of a JD. BTW Rutherford Global are an awesome shipper / freight forwarder / import broker - oh and check for additional fees you may incur, turns out Vancouver has a port congestion charge and also a peak season charge when importing between September through November - if you're on the west side of Canada, may be worth shipping to Prince Rupert then have it shipped by rail and road to the destination address
My first tractor order through alibaba.com didn’t work out after 5 months of waiting, the supplier didn’t go dark, in fact they were updating me every couple of weeks at the least, however, it turns out, due to the trade war situation between the US and China at the time of the order and the fact that the engine emissions standards here in Canada are piggy backed on the US EPA standard, it was very difficult for any supplier on Alibaba to source an EPA Tier 4 certified engine even though most of them say they can, they can't. The supplier I chose could, it was a Kohler 75HP engine that was built in Italy and shipped to China for installation in my tractor, however 3 months into the order, it arrived at my supplier without the right sized flywheel which would have taken another 2 months so my manufacturer, with my agreement, cancelled the order through Alibaba and I got the refund 3 weeks after the cancellation from Alibaba as the broker. Their Trade Assurance program worked a treat and I didn’t lose a penny.
BTW if you import any new vehicle into Canada that doesn’t have an EPA Certified Engine, CBSA / DoT will quite happily seize the vehicle at the border, crush it and send you the bill for the privilege - I figured it wasn’t worth the risk to import a tractor with a Chinese engine
So my learnings from my failed first order led me to take a slightly different approach, why not try and import a Chinese tractor without an engine, I source an engine from a local distributor and get it installed? This will be another post with a happier ending - anyone recommend a 130HP Tractor Engine?