Mannheim plant produces its 2 millionth tractor

  • The John Deere plant in Mannheim is celebrating the production of its 2 millionth tractor

About 3,300 employees help produce 40,000 tractors a year at the site, before the machines are exported all over the world. The factory is one of the most important employers in the city.

Mannheim is the city of inventors. The car, the bicycle and the tractor were invented there, and while no cars or bikes are produced in the city today, tractors continue to roll off the line in the Lindenhof district. The Heinrich Lanz company laid the foundation stone for one of the most successful tractor factories 102 years ago with the Bulldog. John Deere tractors have been produced there since 1956.

Due to the sharp increase in production, the factory is now the largest John Deere production facility outside North America. It is also the largest tractor production facility in Germany, as two-thirds of all tractors manufactured in Germany are produced in Mannheim. The factory benefits from its convenient location on the Rhine, via which about 250 tractors are shipped twice a week to Rotterdam or Antwerp, and then overseas – including the UK and Ireland.

However, the plant is not only a production site. It is also a development site for all medium tractors from John Deere. More than 250 engineers work on the tractors of tomorrow and beyond. The main focus is on performance, comfort and efficiency.

Today’s tractor cabs offer the luxuries of a car with automatic air conditioning, AppleCar Play, comfortable seats, GPS steering and much more. Developers also put a lot of effort into clean fuel combustion; the same strict exhaust emission standards apply to tractors as they do for other vehicles. At the same time, engineers are working on alternative concepts, such as the use of biofuels. Electric drives are also being developed, albeit only for smaller tractors, as the battery capacity for larger machines is not yet sufficient. In 2026, the first fully autonomous and battery-driven tractor delivering approximately 100hp will be presented.

The development department led the way with the introduction of the frame design on the Mannheim tractors. The sturdy bridge steel frame gives the tractors enormous stability when using heavy implements. In addition, the other components of the tractor can be built lighter. For example, the gearbox housings are made of aluminium. After the introduction of the frame design in the 1990s, production figures went steadily upwards. For more than 20 years, John Deere has been the market leader for tractors in all major Western European countries. The current success is due, among other things, to the flagship of Mannheim production, the 6R 250. With a maximum output of 300 hp, it is the largest tractor ever built in Mannheim. Overall, Mannheim tractors cover the range from 90 to 250 hp rated power in the ‘luxury’ class.

The two millionth tractor will also be a 6R 250.  As a thank you to the production team, the tractor is wrapped in portrait photos of more than 300 employees. The tractor will be unveiled at the Mannheim plant on 22 March in the presence of John Deere CEO John C. May. In the following weeks, the tractor will be on display at the John Deere Forum. In the long term, it will be given a place of honour in the factory museum next to its little brother, the 1 millionth tractor, a JD 6400. It took 70 years from the start of production for one million John Deeres to be prodced, but the second million have rolled off the line in about 30 years.

With the handover of the anniversary tractor, the company is not only looking back, but also looking forward. The ceremony will take place in the building of the new paint shop. More than $80 million USD is currently being invested in the future of the plant and in securing the location. Thanks to state-of-the-art environmental technology, energy consumption is significantly lower and emissions can be reduced to a minimum. Waste water and waste are avoided and the noise level is much lower than in the previous plants.

The training workshop at the Mannheim plant is also looking back and forward. It celebrates its 100th anniversary this summer. In times of a shortage of skilled workers, it is becoming increasingly important for the company to train qualified young people. Currently, the training workshop offers 160 young people qualifications as mechatronics technicians, automotive mechatronics technicians, industrial mechanics, electronics technicians for industrial engineering and construction mechanics with a focus on welding technology.

The Mannheim location is well equipped for the future. With the two millionth tractor and further investments in assembly being made, the company is sending an important signal to the more than 3,300 employees and the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region that it is moving forward.