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Farm Vehicles Advertising Feature
How things have changed over the years
By PETER OWENS
At the Great Exhibition of 1851 it became obvious to the
British that the United States was revolutionising the
Key figures in this were the McCormick Family which were
prominent in not only agriculture but in the formation and
development of the Chicago Tribune into one of the most
influential newspapers in the world.
Cyrus Hall McCormick was an industrialist and inventor of the first
commercially successful reaper, a horse-drawn machine to
In 1847 he moved to Chicago and formed what eventually
became known as the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company.
There, McCormick developed marketing and distribution
techniques that helped make his company a success. He also
benefited from the growth of Chicago as an industrial centre and
rail hub. By 1858 the company was the largest farm equipment
manufacturer in the United States.
Cyrus died in 1884 and son, Cyrus Jr., became president of the
company. Throughout the 1880s and 1890s the company
retained its position as the leading agricultural equipment
manufacturer. However it found itself increasingly challenged by
competitors in a somewhat depressed market. The company's
chief rival was the Deering Harvester Company. By 1900
McCormick and Deering were nearly equal in sales.
In 1902 the two companies merged to form the International
Harvester Company (IH). Three other rivals joined the merger and
Cyrus McCormick's sons, Cyrus, Jr. and Harold Fowler McCormick,
presided over the new company during its first 40 years.
All went well for IH until 1979 when there were profitability
problems and workers striked in response to what their union
AWC saw as restrictive practices by the company. The strike
lasted six months.
Soon after, the economy turned unfavourably against them, and
they became entangled in a financial crisis. When it ended, IH had
lost almost $600 million.
Matters got worse until finally in 1984 the company was unable
to continue operating.
International Harvester, following many hours of negotiations,
agreed to sell the Ag division to Tenneco, Inc. Tenneco had a
subsidiary, Johnson International that manufactured tractors, but
lacked the full line of farm implements that IH produced
(combines, cotton pickers, tillage equipment, etc.)
Following the merger, tractor production at Harvester's Rock
Island ceased. Production of the new Case IH
tractors moved to the J.I. Case Tractor Works
in Racine, Wisconsin. Production of IH Axial-
Flow combines continued at the Illinois
combine factory. Harvester's Memphis Works
in Memphis, Tennessee was closed and
cotton picker production was moved.
The truck and engine divisions remained, and in 1986 Harvester
changed the corporate name to Navistar International
Corporation (Harvester had sold the International Harvester name
and the IH symbol to Tenneco Inc. as part of the sale of its Ag
Navistar International Corporation continues to manufacture
medium- and heavy-duty trucks, school buses, and engines under
the International brand name.
IH had a presence in New Zealand before 1902, when McCormick
farm implements were sold in this country.
On the merger with Deering the company set up a plant at
Christchurch and began assembling both agricultural equipment
and International Trucks.
From 1902 through to the 1980s, the International Harvester
Company of New Zealand imported, assembled, distributed and
retailed a range of new trucks and agricultural equipment
through a network of franchised dealers and branches.
The independent company, Johnson International, took over the
importation and distribution of International trucks in the late
1980s. In 1992 International Trucks New Zealand purchased the
parts operations and relocated to premises in Manukau. Johnson
International also moved into the Manukau facility as they took
on the added function of retailing in the Auckland region.
In 1997, operations were relocated to new, purpose-built sales,
parts and service facilities in Wiri, about 20 kilometers South of
Auckland. Service operations were sublet to an independent
The agreement with Johnson International terminated in 1998
and International Trucks New Zealand assumed whole goods
responsibilities. In 2001 the company's name was changed to
Iveco Trucks New Zealand.
Iveco Trucks New Zealand today has 12 major service dealers,
supported by 26 parts dealers, on both North and South Islands.
In 2008, Iveco Trucks Australia Limited sold the New Zealand
operation to New Zealand Trucks Limited, a division of The
Meanwhile Case IH from its New Zealand base near Palmerston
North continues to sell tractors throughout New Zealand.
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