History of Tractors in India

Tractors are the most visible symbol of agriculture in India. It has an enriched farming history since the time of independence of India. Development of the tractors has happened due to the development of technology and the keen competition that the tractor companies face in India in providing the best quality agricultural equipment. This article talks in detail about the history of tractors in India. 

The First Tractors in India

The first tractors in India were bought from the wars during the mid-1940s. When India gained her independence in 1947, several companies of tractor manufacturing came into being. In the '60s, '70s, and '80s, the main development of the tractor industry happened in India. The five-year plans of the Government of India concentrated firmly on the development of agricultural mechanization. Tractors became one of the kinds of farming equipment which was given special support by the government.

The Intermediate Time

Companies like Eicher tractor, TAFE, Escorts, M&M came into being during the 60's decade in India. Till the end of the 60's era, approximately, 146,000 units were already working in the country. The '70s to 80s era experienced the diversification of the tractor industries. Tractors were imported from USSR and the neighbours of the eastern bloc.  HMT started manufacturing tractors in India in the year 1972.  

In the 80s and the 90s, the tractor industry experienced many global tie-ups. State-owned companies like Haryana Tractors and Punjab Tractors and other companies came into being.

In 1998, New Holland Tractors came into India. The company invested $75 million dollars to provide the 70p tractors. Larsen and Toubro went to a joint venture with global leader John Deere.

The Modern Time

After the 1990s the Indian industries expanded much within the country reaching out to the southern and eastern part of India. Now India has almost 29% of the total tractor population in the world.

Gujarat Tractors Limited

Gujarat tractors formed in 1959 is now called Mahindra Gujarat Tractors Limited Company since it belongs to the Mahindra Group since 2001. The company now manufactures the 30-60 hp tractors.

John Deere in India

The John Deere Tractor company produces several different models of tractors ranging from 35 hp to 89hp. It is one of the leading exporters also. Earlier in a joint venture with the L&T, John Deere now works individually as John Deere India Private limited. It now manufactures the 5000 series tractors from Pune and Dewas.

Mahindra JV and the International Harvester

M&M and the International Harvester are in the tie-up since the year 1963.  Mahindra tractor group has the rights of manufacturing the B-275 model. The company now sells nearly 200,000 tractors annually. It also owns the Swaraj brand of tractors.

New Holland Agriculture

The New Holland Agriculture has the factory in India at the city of Greater Noida. It produces different types of tractor models and has a good global presence through the India operations. In India, the company started its venture in the year 1996. Till now the countrywide sale of tractors is over 2.5 lakhs.


Sonalika Tractors came into being when the tie-up of ILT happened with Renault Agriculture. Earlier International Tractors Limited was making the tractors that were designed by CMERI. At present, 18HP to 120HP models of tractors are manufactured. 60 to 90HP Renault CERES is also manufactured by the company. Yanmar has bought a large stake in Sonalika.


In the initial period, Escort group manufactured the Ford tractors during 1971. By 1975-80 a sharp lift in the production happened as it went up to 33,000 in 1975 and 75,000 in 1980. Ford quit the business in 1992 but the name was used up till 2000. The ford models are only designed under the Escort brand. The brand names used for the tractors are Powertrac and Farmtrac. The currently manufactured tractors range from 8 to 75 HP.


The full form of TAFE is Tractors and Farm Equipment Limited (TAFE). In 1961 this company was established for marketing the tractors of Massey Ferguson in India. TAFE also is a part of the Amalgamations Group and AGCO (American Agriculture Equipment Manufacturer). AGCO owns a stake of 24% of TAFE. Currently, the tractors are sold in India under the brand names of both TAFE and Massey Ferguson. Export is also done under both the names.


In 1949, Eicher GoodEarth was set up in India. The company went for a tie-up in with Gerb. Eicher. Eicher is the pioneer of a fully integrated tractor in India. The tractors were available for the public from 1987. Eicher Motors sold the tractors business to TAFE in 2005.

Tractors are vital for the country like India where most people depend upon agriculture.  Tractors have played a key role in the development of the country and will continue to enjoy a place of pride as India cements its place as a world power.

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