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Going ( John Deere) green

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The latest addition to the John Deere line of tractors includes several models featuring a green Cummins QSX15 diesel engine.

While the high-performance tractors meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Tier 4 emissions standards, the engine color is not a nod to Cummins’ ongoing environmental efforts.

The engine has been painted green to match the famous colors of the supersized John Deere tractors it powers.

Cummins has more than one color of engine, including some that are a different shade of green in its power generation catalog, but red is the company’s predominant engine color.

Having the Cummins engine in John Deere signature green is important for John Deere, said Barry Nelson, John Deere North American manager, media relations for Worldwide Agriculture & Turf Equipment.

“It’s important for our brand, because John Deere Green is the most familiar color in agriculture,” Nelson said. “This was specifically for the upper model of that series of tractor.”

There is a specific formula for the paints recognized as John Deere Green and John Deere Yellow. John Deere Green has even been immortalized in a song of the same name by country music singer Joe Diffie.

John Deere’s green and yellow color scheme, the leaping deer symbol and the John Deere logotype are all company trademarks.

The John Deere 9R Series tractor with the green QSX 15 engine was introduced last week at the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa.

Cummins describes the 15-liter QSX15 engine as designed to deliver economical, reliable power and performance, while achieving more than a 50 percent increase in torque with increased fuel economy.

Jim Branner, Ag Market — Global OEM Accounts, Cummins, said the engineering groups of both companies worked closely together to develop the tractor and create the QSX 15 engine configuration and torque delivery.

“The very impressive results are due to outstanding work by a cross-functional team to integrate the QSX15 from air-intake to exhaust aftertreatment in the 9R tractor,” Branner said in a statement.

The engines are produced at the Cummins Jamestown Engine Plant (JEP) in Jamestown, New York.

John Deere calls this the largest expansion of the top-line four-wheel-drive and track tractor series in company history.

The expansion is aimed at large-scale farmers who need to cover a lot of terrain under tough conditions with a cleaner, high-performance tractor that meets the emissions standard.

The engine provides a rated power of 620 horsepower for the largest tractor John Deere has ever built, Jerry Griffith, division marketing manager, John Deere Waterloo, said in a statement.

It’s that engine painted in John Deere Green, with the name Cummins on the top and the trademark “C” on the side, however, that catches the eye.

Brad VanAuken, chief brand strategist with brand consultancy, The Blake Project, said it’s always a challenge when two companies with strong brand identity have a shared marketing interest.

“It comes down to how important color is to one brand versus another,” VanAuken said. “John Deere is green, and everybody knows that, just as UPS is brown.”

Red is a strong color in the Cummins brand palette, but VanAuken said it is not as dominant as John Deere’s green is to that company.

“The Cummins engine is inside, so it’s not really visible most of the time,” VanAuken said. “On the other hand, the strength of the Cummins engine brand identity could still provide added value for John Deere.”

As VanAuken pointed out, the Cummins name and the trademark “C” are still plainly visible on the engine.

While it was not the intent, if Cummins wanted to identify a green engine with its sustainability efforts, the QSX15 would be a good fit.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency developed Tier 4 standards to establish emission-control guidelines for non-road diesel engines similar to those already expected for highway trucks and buses.

Non-road diesel engines are used in farm tractors and other agricultural equipment, excavators, airport ground service equipment, and utility equipment such as generators, pumps and compressors.

Exhaust emissions from the engines are expected to decrease by more than 90 percent when the phase-in is complete in 2015.

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