CNH, Case New Holland Tractors

This venerable, old American tractor company is actually now owned by the Italian firm, Fiat. In 2007, they recorded $12.1 billion in worldwide sales. That made them the second largest agricultural equipment manufacturer in the world. They have 28,000 employees worldwide.

Over the years of consolidation, Case has actually swallowed up many other brands like International Harvester, New Holland and Steiger. These consolidations began in the late 60s when the Kern County Land Company – a huge irrigated ranch and oil company near Bakersfield, California – bought a majority interest in the J. I. Case Company. Kern was, in turn, bought by the Texas oil company Tenneco in 1967. Case and Tenneco bought the British tractor maker David Brown, Ltd., in 1972 and International Harvester in 1985. Case dropped its distinctive orange paint scheme for the International red, and the brand became known as Case IH.

In the meantime, the Italian motor company Fiat was expanding its agriculture division. In 1977, it bought Hesston, a hay equipment company, and Fiat gained access to the U.S. market. Ford and Sperry New Holland merged in 1986, and that company was acquired by Fiat in 1991. That same year, Fiat sold Hesston to AGCO.

In 1999, Fiat bought Case and the new agricultural division became CNH. By 2007, the new company employed 28,000 people worldwide.

Through those years, there have been notable tractor lines introduced.

  • In 1974, Case introduced the 2670 Traction King tractor. That model was followed by the 1410 and 1412. In ’76 two new 300 HP tractors were introduced, known as the 1570 Agri-King and the 2870 Traction King. Both were four-wheel drive systems.
  • In 1978, the 70 and 90 series were introduced, followed by the 94 series in 1983.
  • In 1986, Case IH introduced the Model 685L with a four-cylinder engine that developed 69 HP through a 4×4 transmission. A larger model in the same range was the 1594, with an in-line six-cylinder engine that produced 96 HP and drove through a four-range, semi-automatic transmission.
  • In 1990s, New Holland launched 24 tractor models in three different ranges, alongside the Fiat-Hitachi Compact line. The articulated tractors in the Versatile 82 Series were designed for high-powered applications. The range includes Models 9282, 9482, 9682, and 9882, all powered by a six-cylinder engine with 12-speed transmissions and either two- or four-wheel drive configurations. The Series 70 tractors have power outputs between 170 and 240 HP. The 90 Series tractors completed the lineup.
  • The current Case IH range includes the Farmall, Magnum and Maxxum tractors. Farmall, of course, is a venerated name in tractor history, and the current line has models from 31 up to 80 HP. The 8900 Magnum series are powered by an 8300cc displacement engine with an 18-speed transmission. There are four models in the MX series of Maxxum tractors with outputs ranging from 85 to 115 PTO HP. The Maxxum series have a six-cylinder turbo-charged diesel engine. At the top end are the Case STX Steiger articulated models with horsepower ranging from 335 to 535 HP.

By the 2000s, CNH had several manufacturing plants in the U.S., plus plants in Britain, France, Austria, Brazil, Australia, Uzbekistan and China.

Written by Bill Ganzel, the Ganzel Group. First published in 2009. A partial bibliography of sources is here.

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