John Deere is phasing out its Deere-branded walk-behind lawnmowers and snowblowers starting in 2012, as part of a sales and marketing agreement with Honda Power Equipment.
Honda premium power products will be sold at participating John Deere dealerships in the U.S., and Deere will no longer sell its own walk-behind lawnmowers and snowblowers. Deere will continue selling its riding mowers and lawn tractors.
“Deere has made it very clear in the recent past that we're focused on global growth businesses, and the two of them we're most focused on are agriculture and construction equipment,” Deere spokesman Ken Golden said Tuesday.
“We've sold walk-behind lawnmowers since the 1970s, but have not manufactured them ourselves for a long period of time. We believe this is a necessary product offering, but not one that fits into Deere's core competencies,” he said.
Under the terms of the agreement, participating Deere dealers will offer Honda’s walk-behind lawnmowers, generators, tillers, water pumps and snowblowers. Shipments of Honda inventory to Deere dealerships will be phased in, beginning in 2012.
It will not affect sales of Deere riding mowers or lawn tractors, Mr. Golden said.
“We want to offer a high-quality product for our customers and our dealers, and Honda is known for its commitment to quality, durability, and customer service, just like Deere,” he said. “So this is a good match for a Deere customer.”
Sales of Deere lawnmowers have remained “very strong,” Mr. Golden said, but the company does not publicly break out figures for individual product lines, he noted.
“They're a small part of our overall business. We think that Honda has already made the investment to have a very sustainable business in this area,” Mr. Golden said. “We hope this relationship lasts a long time; they're a leader in this product.”
Deere has also contracted with a third party to manufacture its walk-behind mowers and snowblowers for at least a decade, he said. The agreement with Honda also will not affect Deere's commercial turf and golf-course equipment business.
Honda does not make a riding mower, so that also is “a nice match” with Deere, Mr. Golden said. “Our customers will go to a John Deere dealership for the riding mower line.”
“This new alliance with John Deere allows Honda Power Equipment to expand its reach by providing products that meet the high quality and reliability standards that John Deere customers have come to expect,” Scott Conner, vice president, Honda Power Equipment, said Tuesday in a news release.
John Deere dealerships are independently owned and the company said all 1,500 active dealers that sell lawn equipment will be offered the opportunity to sell the Honda product line during a sign-up period beginning later this year, Mr. Golden said. Deere said it may also consider the agreement for Canadian dealers in the future.
Customers who want to purchase a new Honda power product, or service an existing product, at a Deere dealership will be able to do so at participating Deere dealers after the dealer is added to the Honda sales network. Deere said the program could take through 2013 to be completely phased in, but there are about 200 dealers that already sell the Honda products, Mr. Golden said.
This is not the first time Deere has discontinued a lawn care product line, he added. A couple years ago, Deere added Stihl chainsaws to its dealerships, after it stopped making Deere-branded chainsaws.
Honda – most well-known for its automobiles – sells power equipment at Farm & Fleet stores in Moline, Geneseo, and Davenport; Home Depot in Bettendorf, and C.E.I. Equipment on Avenue of the Cities, Moline.