The company best known for tractors and field equipment just expanded its product line deep into the utility market. John Deere, the creator of the Gator utility vehicle (UV), recently introduced three new lines of ATVs and UVs. The new vehicles should start appearing in dealerships this winter.

Deere expanded its lines to gain a bigger share of the ATV and UV markets, which have grown in the past several years with much of the growth coming from agriculture. Farmers purchase the popular vehicles to use on jobs that they previously handled with pickups, small tractors and even horses.

The John Deere Gator has done well in the farm market, too. But competitors have beefed up and restyled their vehicles to make them more task oriented. This past year, Deere decided to increase its presence in the market with help from ATV maker Bombardier. Deere and the Canadian manufacturer created an alliance that provides engineering and design for Deere's new ATVs.

Deere wants it clearly known that its new ATVs are designed primarily for work, not just recreation. It expects the new vehicles to appeal to the farm market that needs engines and transmissions geared for pulling, pushing and hauling. “We want to be leaders in task vehicles,” reports John May, vehicle marketing director for John Deere. After all, Deere knows the farm market very well. May reports the company conducted extensive research to determine what its customers want and need in the vehicles. Here's a look at Deere's three new lines.

Utility ATVs

Deere's research found that each year 50,000 of its customers buy an ATV. Hoping to capitalize on that customer base, Deere is jumping in with seven new ATV models called “utility ATVs,” which will be available next spring. Engineered for hard work, the utility ATVs are equipped with a 500- or 650-cc Rotax engine. The vehicles handle muddy and rough terrain with 4-wd and a progressively locking front differential that doesn't require a button to engage.

The three Buck models with 500-cc engines are designed for hauling, towing and pulling with their semiautomatic, five-speed, gear-on-gear transmissions. Operators may choose to manually shift with a handlebar button or move the button to automatic electronic shifting. The platform for the Buck model comes from the Bombardier Traxter ATV.

The Buck ATVs will reach 45 mph and stop with hydraulic disc brakes. The suspension is double A-arm in the front and rigid swing arm in the rear to handle towing up to 1,100 lbs. The Buck model will retail for $6,999. The Buck EXT with a 600-lb.-capacity cargo box will retail for $7,499. The Buck EX, with special accessories such as front and rear receiver hitches and drawbar, heavy-duty rear bumper and 2,500-lb. winch, will retail for $7,799.

Deere offers the Trail Buck ATV for customers who want to do off-roading plus farm work. It is based on the Bombardier Quest model. The four Trail Bucks are equipped with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), four-stroke Rotax engine and 4-wd and can reach speeds of 50 mph. The Trail Buck with a 500-cc engine retails for $6,499. The Trail Buck 650 comes with the 650-cc engine for $6,999. The Trail Buck 650 EXT includes a cargo box with 600-lb. capacity for $7,499. Price of the Trail Buck 650 EX, with accessories such as the receiver hitches, heavy-duty rear bumper, winch and front and rear rack extensions, is $7,799.

High-performance Gator

Deere reengineered and redesigned the Gator into a new high-performance (HP) vehicle that looks like a Hummer and can handle heavy loads and rough terrains. The new Gator HPX models are equipped with front and rear suspension, a 1,300-lb.-capacity bed, and front and rear hydraulic disc brakes. The HP models reach 25 mph and will tow 1,300 lbs. Deere installed a 12v DC outlet, plenty of cup holders and storage as well as high-backed bucket seats.

The Gator HPX and HPX 4×4 vehicles are powered by 20-hp, four-cycle Kawasaki gasoline engines. The HPX will retail for $7,999 when it is introduced in March. The HPX 4×4 model should be in dealerships starting this month and will sell for $8,999. A model designed for trail work called the Trail Gator HPX 4×4 will retail for $9,499 when introduced in January.

Diesel models will be available next summer and will be equipped with a 20-hp, four-cycle Yanmar diesel engine. The Gator HPX diesel will retail for $9,499, and the Gator HPX 4×4 diesel will retail for $10,499.

Compact UVs

The new Gator CS and CX are geared for light-duty utility work on the farm. Both models feature a composite cargo box that holds 400 lbs. and a drivetrain system that provides engine power for acceleration, hauling, towing and hill climbing. The vehicles are compact and easy to handle. Both models have the CVT transmission, and the CX includes differential lock. Maximum speed is 15 mph.

Both vehicles are available now in selected John Deere dealerships. The Gator CS, powered with an 8-hp, four-cycle Kawasaki engine, retails for $4,599. The Gator CX is equipped with a 10-hp, four-cycle Kawasaki engine and retails for $4,999.

For more information, contact John Deere Commercial & Consumer Equipment Div., Dept. FIN, Box 13603, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, 800/537-8233, or visit www.JohnDeere.com or www.freeproductinfo.net/fin.