Rise of the Lawn-Cutting Machines

Self-directed mowers are Europe’s fastest-growing garden tool
Photograph by Ted Soqui/Corbis

Cutting the grass every weekend has long been the bane of sports-obsessed fathers and teens who’d rather spend Saturdays playing video games. Husqvarna, Europe’s biggest maker of lawn mowers, thinks it has the solution: turf-trimming robots. The market for robotic mowers, dominated by the Swedish company for more than a decade, is growing at 15 times the rate of conventional mowers, and that’s attracting rivals. Auto parts giant Robert Bosch started selling robot mowers last month, after both Deere and Global Garden Products Italy entered the market earlier in 2012. Honda Motor will join the fray next year. “It’s still a niche market in Europe as a whole, but it’s growing so fast that in some countries it’s now starting to be a mainstream segment,” says Henric Andersson, head of product management and development at Husqvarna. “In some markets, it may be as big or bigger than regular mowers.”

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