So, you’ve just discovered that you now own a gray market Kubota tractor. You may or not have known that before you plunked down good dollars for what you felt was a reasonably priced orange tractor! You thought it looked a little weird what with all the decals and instructions printed in Japanese. You did recognize that “Kubota” nameplate though, so it’s gotta be okay, right? Well the answer is not so black and white, pardon the pun – it’s a little gray!
It’s a Kubota
First and foremost, rest assured that your recently acquired gray market tractor now proudly parked in your shed is 100% Kubota through and through. It was designed, engineered, assembled and shipped from exactly the same manufacturing facility as every single other Kubota tractor in the world! Kubota builds and ships their tractors to Argentina, New Zealand, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, India, Greece, Canada, Australia, the UAE, Great Britain, the USA among others. Kubota does not build a different tractor with different parts for every country they ship to! That’s worth repeating. Kubota does not build a different tractor with different parts for every country they ship to.
Part Song and Part Dance
So why is it then that your local brick and mortar Kubota dealer would like you to think that you own a “black market” tractor? As we know, it is a Kubota after all! It seems like your dealer can’t or won’t help you and may enjoy telling you that parts are “not available” because it’s a “gray market” model. You’ll never get an oil filter, water pump and good luck on a tire tube. “Buddy”, he says, “you’re screwed”!
The reason your dealer tells you this has everything to do with his franchise agreement with Kubota/KTC and little to do with his claim that “you can’t get parts”. What he really should say is “I can’t sell you the part”, that is the truth. Your local dealer probably has a stock room full of parts that fit your gray market Kubota, the problem is he is bound by his franchise agreement to only provide parts and service for North American Kubota models.
So What can I do if I need a Part?
Providing parts and service for gray market Kubota tractors is a cottage industry in itself. Look around your community and I’ll bet you’ll find a local resource there that can assist you in getting any thing you’d ever need for your gray Kubota. Our page sponsor Yenibiz does a brisk business selling parts to gray market Kubota owners the world over! In Canada, Acreage Outfitters has been providing parts and offering service assistance for years to owners of gray market Kubota models. Diesel Traders Inc in Australia is home to some of the most talented gray market service and parts people in this industry. Selling gray market Kubota parts and offering service to gray market Kubota tractor owners is a business all in itself. Support these businesses. They exist and enjoy success because they are filling this need and demand. There are many more service providers out there, start looking for them and support the hell out of them!
Your dealer is not the only source you have for parts either! Don’t forget your ag and auto parts stores for consumables and hard parts. The engine model number is all they need to whip up a rad cap, lower and upper hoses, a water pump, air/fuel filters, belts, gaskets, etc.
Watch the box stores for filter deals as well. Walmart has a hell of a regular price on Fram and Purolator oil filters. Who says you can’t get parts for your gray market Kubota?
The best way to put yourself in a position to maintain your gray market Kubota:
- determine what model you have, and what its closest North American equivalent is
- BUY a service manual, a parts manual and an operators manual, either for the original model you have or the equivalent
- find local resources in your area, they are in business because your local Kubota Dealer cannot help you
- consider other sources for your parts like auto supply and big box stores
- learn from and educate others, participate in our forums
In the next little while we’ll be writing some articles detailing our tips and tricks to determining what your equivalent model is as well as a common “cross-overs”.
Service Department Vic
Tips for the New Owner of a Used Kubota
ZEN-NOH and Kubota Part 1: A Partnership
Kubota Servicing 101: Part 1 – Air Filter
Gray Market Kubota Oil Filter Part Numbers
Forum: Gray Market & Zennoh