13 November 2001
Tractor giant denies brand dilution

By Tom Allen-Stevens

THE president of tractor manufacturer Case IH has insisted that brand identity remains a core focus, despite accusations that this has already been compromised.

At the official launch of three new ranges of machinery, at Agrotechnica near Hanover, Cases Rich Christman said the brand had a very strong heritage.

“Its a brand the customer has emotional ties to – they recognise the strength and power the Case IH name stands for,” he said on Monday (12 November).

The company merged in 1999 with New Holland, creating the US-based giant CNH Global, a company with 67% of the worlds agricultural machinery turnover.

With restructuring complete, there are efficiencies of scale that will allow Case to completely renew its product range by 2004, said Mr Christman.

The first tastes of these, he added, are the new CT combines, LBX high density balers and PJ orchard and vineyard tractors, designed for the European market.

But critics say that Case has already divorced itself from its “heritage” and adopted too much of the existing New Holland components in the new machines.

“The CT combine is just a New Holland TX combine painted red,” said one visitor to the Agritechnica event.

“This is what happens when you merge two companies with such similar product ranges,” said a Hampshire farmer visiting the show.

“Both Case and New Holland are viewed as the Ford of the agricultural machinery world – you can barely tell them apart anyway.”

Mr Christman, who started his career with Ford, accepted the new Case lines have adopted components of existing New Holland lines, but denied it is a trend.

“We had to make a choice between product differentiation and speed of entry into the market place.

“There is a brand difference and you will see that grow as we have time to develop further new lines,” he said.

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