In 2019, Kharkiv Tractor Plant will be focusing on innovation, winning back international and domestic market share, and continuing large-scale modernization. This was the key message of DCH Group president Oleksandr Yaroslavsky as he outlined plans for the plant on 14 November.
“Our core market is Ukraine, with overseas markets our next priority. In light of the fact that the plant has lost market positions both at home and abroad, we are currently working to catch up. This will take time, but we are no strangers to hard work,” he comments. “The plant is still attractive and is a leading player within the Ukrainian engineering industry, so it will remain in focus.”
A budget of UAH 230 million has been allocated for the current modernization drive. “Our priority is the modernization of our tractor models,” said Yaroslavsky. “We have introduced around 200 innovations to individual models. This has brought about significant changes to both the appearance and performance of our tractors, making them more competitive.”
The plant expects to end 2018 with an annual tractor output of 800, with similar targets in place next year, although everything will depend on the volume of orders the company receives. “We are planning for 2019 as we did for the current year,” said Yaroslavsky. “Every year, we encounter new challenges with the plant. It was once an obstacle course. Now it is more like a swimming pool without any water. But this just serves to make it more interesting and enjoyable. I take my responsibilities to pay the salaries of our employees seriously and will always find a way to make it happen.”
One of the most ambitious aspects of DCH Group’s plans for Kharkiv Tractor Plant is the concept of developing an entire business ecosystem on the grounds of the plant. This is set to include an industrial park and logistics center alongside a tech hub (technopark) to support the development of innovation. Yaroslavsky is actively seeking to engage Kharkiv’s student community in the initiative and is working with many of the city’s leading universities. “We currently plan a major project for the reconstruction of Kharkiv Tractor Plant. I think the final investment will be USD 2-3 billion. We have only just begun and it will continue for years. This project appeals to me because it will help the local tech economy to maintain itself in good shape.”
Kharkiv Tractor Factor dates back to 1930 and was acquired by Yaroslavsky in 2016. At the time, the plant was in crisis and had virtually ceased all production. Work resumed in late 2016, with 794 units produced in 2017. The plant reported a profit of UAH 48.8 million in 2017 compared to a loss of UAH 667 million the previous year.