JUST weeks after the launch of a new generation of "small" Challenger tracked tractors, Caterpillar has decided to sell all rights to rival AGCO.
The surprise deal, under which AGCO acquires all design, assembly and marketing rights for the 235hp to 306hp Challenger MT series, gives AGCO a leading entry into large-scale farms in North America.
In Europe, it places a question-mark over the future role of Claas in the distribution of these machines. *
The tractors were due to have been launched in Claas colours at the Agritechnica exhibition in November but failed to appear at the last minute.
"We have been in deep discussions with Caterpillar for a long time," says Clive Last of Claas UK. "As far as we are concerned, no decision has been taken to change distribution arrangements in Europe."