19 January 2001

Maxxum force as Landini goes for new target

By Peter Hill

A NEW tractor line based on the Case-IH MX Maxxum is to be produced in the wake of Landinis agreement to buy the Case tractor plant at Doncaster from CNH Global.

The surprise development adds credence to the Italian tractor makers plans to re-establish the McCormick name as a world-wide brand and will come as a major morale boost for staff at the South Yorks plant.

Last week, CNH Global announced it had received European Commission approval for Landinis proposed acquisition of the factory and the 50hp to 100hp Case CX and MX-C tractor designs (FW 22 Dec). It also revealed that part of the complex agreement includes a sub-licence allowing a modified version of the Maxxum to be developed.

It will have a different engine from the Case-Cummins unit currently used and other changes to differentiate it from the parent design. But with the four-speed semi-powershift transmission and modern half-chassis construction likely to remain, it would represent a highly competitive line of mid- to high horsepower models.

The new version will most likely become part of the McCormick line which will be launched this spring with tractors based on the Perkins-engined Case-IH CX and MX-C models. First task will be to persuade Case-IH dealers to continue selling them with the McCormick name on their flanks.

CNH is obliged not to hinder such approaches but is known to be keen for its dealers to stock the Austrian-built Case-IH CS models instead. Having previously priced them at a modest premium, and despite receiving improved technical features and support packages, it is understood that Case is now pricing these tractors at CX/MX-C levels to improve their market appeal.

Fuller details of Landinis plans for the McCormick product line are likely to be announced when its agreement with CNH Global has been formally completed.

Landini has managed to negotiate rights to a derivative of the Case-IH MX Maxxum as part of its agreement to buy the Case Doncaster plant. Like the CX and MX-C it will likely carry the McCormick name.