Does Caterpillar Make Tractors?

From Construction to Agriculture: Does Caterpillar Make Tractors?

What’s in a name? Challenger, Caterpillar, and CAT, are they all different makes or one and the same?

If you’re in the farming business, you’re likely familiar with the names, but who makes what exactly, and does Caterpillar make tractors?

Does Caterpillar Make Tractors?

Caterpillar does indeed make tractors and has been doing so since the early 1900s. Caterpillar tractors may carry the Challenger badge, they could also be branded Fendt, or they may even have a different name. Some of these tractors are essentially the same tractors sold under different brand names in different markets around the globe.

Sound slightly confusing. That’s because it is! In an industry where the same tractor brand may be called different names in different countries, it’s essential not to judge a product solely on its name. Make sure you know the specs you’re after in a tractor ahead of the brand name.

Are Challenger tractors still made by Cat?

Challenger is an American brand of AG tractors created by Caterpillar Inc. in 1986. In 2002 Caterpillar Inc. was sold to AGCO so today Caterpillar no longer directly makes Challenger tractors.

The current line of Challenger tractors made by AGCO includes ones with wheels and ones on tracks. Tracks tractors are later innovations to wheeled ones and have a strong connection to the Caterpillar brand.

Caterpillar Tractor
Caterpillar Tractor

While a lot of previous Challenger tractor models have been discontinued, there continue to be innovations made in the Challenger brand. This year AGCO released its MT800 series of Challenger tractors. The most powerful model in the range, the MT867, can provide up to 673 HP and has a 16.2 MAN 6-cylinder engine.

Advancements in tractor technology like the MT800 series are only possible because of the long legacy of the Caterpillar name.

Who owns Caterpillar?

Caterpillar tractor

Caterpillar was formed in 1925 when the Holt Manufacturing Company merged with the CL Best Tractor Company. Its name goes back even further to when Benjamin Holt was looking for a way to improve the movement and grip of his tractors. He decided to replace wheels with wooden tracks bolted to chains.

It was noted that the new tractors with tracks looked like caterpillars in their movements leading to the brand’s name.

In 1986 the company began trading as Caterpillar Inc., and in 2002 it was sold to parent company AGCO. AGCO is today a global leader in the design, manufacture, and sales of AG equipment.

Caterpillar, which is chiefly responsible for the Cat brand, has its corporate headquarters in Deerfield, Illinois. There are 178 Caterpillar dealers spread across the United States. Whether you purchase Challenger tractors through AGCO or a Cat dealership will likely depend on where you are around the globe.

Who owns Challenger Tractors?

Challenger Tractors are a brand of AG tractors created by Caterpillar. Since 2002 they have been owned by AGCO. AGCO manufactures a lot of the AG equipment that you see on the American market today.

As well as Challenger tractors, it makes other brands of such as Massey Ferguson tractors and combines; Gleaner combines, Heston hay equipment, White Planters, and New Idea hay and forage equipment. AGCO is also a large global player with a big presence in most countries where AG equipment is used on a large scale.

Where are Challenger tractors made?


Challenger tractors are made at AGCO’s Jackson Minnesota facility. In 2017 the facility won Assembly Plant of the Year, an award presented by ASSEMBLY magazine. AGCO’s facility was chosen as it is state-of-the-art and world-class.

The Jackson plant has reduced production costs, increased productivity, improved product quality, and shortened production time when compared to its competitors. As well as making Challenger tractors at the facility, the company also manufactures combined harvesters, hay and forage equipment, and seeding and tillage implements.

AGCO develops grain storage and protein production systems and provides replacement parts for all its equipment. AGCO has achieved market-leading influence as it is able to provide equipment for all stages of the farming process.

Are Challenger and Fendt the same?

Fendt tractors
Fendt tractors

It is a common practice in the AG manufacturing industry for the same, or very similar, model tractor to be sold any different brand names in different places. There will usually only be small feature alterations between the brand names, but sometimes the changes will be more prominent.

The Challenger 1000 series of tractors which includes models ranging from 396 HP to 517 HP are re-badged versions of the Fendt 1000 Vario Series. They are essentially the same tractors sold under different brand names in different markets around the globe.

Does Caterpillar manufacture farming equipment?

Caterpillar’s original focus was on the manufacture of farming equipment. After 2002 AGCO took over the manufacture of the tractor and farm equipment side of things. Caterpillar began making large machinery for several heavy industries, including construction, mining, and transportation.

It can be said that Caterpillar, along with AGCO, makes a large range of farm and other equipment, including tractors, off-highway trucks, on-highway trucks, pavers, loaders, combines, bulldozers, shovels, and excavators.

You’ve seen the Cat brand of machinery and products, well they’re all made by Caterpillar. The Cat line, which features machines, attachments, power systems, and parts, has over 300 products.

Caterpillar Construction Machinery
Caterpillar Construction Machinery

Does Caterpillar own Claas?

Claas is originally a German brand of AG equipment that is now sold globally. It was founded as a family business in 1913. Class tractors are made in the former Renault tractor plant Le Mans factory in France, which it owns.

Since the 1950s, Class harvesting equipment has been popular with farmers in the United States. In 1979 a Claas of America (COA) sales company was founded. Claas’ Omaha production company was making combined harvesters for the North American market in conjunction with Caterpillar (and since 2002 in conjunction with AGCO).

In terms of ownership, Although now a global sensation, Class continues to be German-owned with its headquarters in Harsewinkel, Germany.

So, whether you’ve got a Challenger or a Vendt tractor should make little difference as the brand name is often less important than the engine it runs and the features it sports.

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