Industry: Backyard Tractors

U.S. farm-equipment makers, who for years have concentrated on building up a $700 million market in agricultural tractors, have found another $100 mil lion business right in the backyard — of thousands of U.S. homeowners. With increasingly bigger homesites and more money in the family budget, the small garden or utility tractor, long mostly a toy for the wealthy, has become an all-round bestseller in suburbia and exurbia. Only six years ago, garden-tractor sales were a bare 27,000 throughout the U.S.; this year the industry expects them to top 180,000.

The versatile...

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