From tractors to utility vehicles, a look back at Kubota firsts
In 2001, twenty one years after Steen Enterprises first opened the doors, we added the Kubota brand to our lot and never looked back. Kubota was a brand we had our eye on and we knew their products were rock solid and reliable. Today we’re proud to be the Lowcountry’s largest Kubota Elite dealership.
One aspect of Kubota we’ve always admired is they are leaders in their field. We are also proud to see how many Kubota products are made right here in the USA. In fact, fifty percent of Kubota units, 100,000 units, are made at Kubota facilities in Gainesville and Jefferson City, Georgia.
We thought you might enjoy a look back at Kubota’s history and some of their breakthrough products. Enjoy!
1890 – Kubota was founded in 1890 as a manufacturer of cast iron pipes to deliver safe water to homes and businesses.
1922 – Kubota begins manufacturing oil engines for the agriculture industry. Those first engines were just three horsepower, but they were very well received.
1960 – After years of making cultivators for the growing agricultural industry, Kubota introduced the first Japanese built, rider-driven tractor. It was called the T15.
1972 – Kubota began shipping their first tractors to the United States, which were compact diesel-powered tractors. At the time, diesel engines were not known for their reliability, but Kubota figured out how to build reliable diesel engines and went on to sell 2,000 tractors in America in 1972. That same year Kubota opened the Kubota Tractor Corporation in Compton City, California.
1974 – Kubota introduced the KH1, a fully-rotating compact excavator, an industry first in the construction world. The success of this mini excavator led to the creation of Kubota’s construction machinery division in 1976.
1988 – Kubota Manufacturing of America opens in Gainesville, Georgia, producing front loaders and backhoes. Today the Gainesville plant is responsible for the Kubota BX Series, ZD zero-turn mowers and Kubota RTVs.
1993 – Kubota is the first diesel engine in the world to be approved for use under California’s strict exhaust emission standards. This feat was possible because Kubota had already been working on a cleaner-burning diesel engine. Kubota continued to achieve early approval as California emission standards evolve.
2000 – Kubota unveiled the industry’s first subcompact tractor, the BX Series. Soon afterward every major tractor brand starting making subcompact tractors, but Kubota remains the leader in the category thanks to the power, reliability and versatility of these tractors.
2002 – Another first for Kubota, the subcompact TLB (tractor-loader-backhoe) package. The BX23 was the first subcompact tractor to be factory packaged with an LA211 front loader and a BT600 backhoe.
2004 – The Kubota RTV900, their first utility vehicle, was introduced in the U.S. and Canada. Shooting to sell 5,000 units, the diesel-powered RTV proved to be very popular and sales topped 15,000.
2006 – Kubota expands in Georgia, opening Kubota Industrial Equipment Corporation in Jefferson, Georgia. This factory produces 70,000 tractor implements per year. Today two Kubota facilities churn out 100,000 Kubota products per year.
2010 – Kubota enters the track loader market with two models. The 75-horsepower SVL75 and the 90-horsepower SVL90.
2018 – Kubota introduces the Sidekick, their largest gas-powered RTV to date. The 48 HP gasoline engine can get the Sidekick to hit a top speed of 40 mph. The Sidekick, which is built in Gainesville, GA, is also the first Kubota vehicle to be offered in four different colors. Along with the standard Kubota orange and a camo pattern, customers have the options to choose a black or green Sidekick.