As the year comes to a close and the equipment manufacturing industry readies itself for another successful year in 2018, let's take a look back at some of the most notable AEM Industry Advisor news headlines from the past 12 months.

Caterpillar opens 2017 by announcing significant changes to its executive team

On January 1, 2017, Jim Umpleby became Caterpillar's chief executive officer, and the company also implemented a number of additional changes to its executive ranks.

Construction Industries Group President Tom Pellette became group president of Energy & Transportation, the position previously held by Umpleby. Replacing Pellette, Caterpillar’s board of directors appointed Bob De Lange, group president of Construction Industries.

With De Lange’s move, Zack Kauk became vice president of the Excavation Division.

To read more about Caterpillar's announcements and appointments, visit:

JCB North America names its new president and CEO

Longtime company veteran Richard Fox-Marrs left his role as president of JCB North America’s Agriculture division to replace outgoing president Arjun Mirdha.

Before Fox-Marrs assumed the role of Ag president, he worked as managing director of both the Ag division and the company’s Loadall telehandler business.

In his role as president and CEO, Fox-Marrs oversees all of JCB’s North American operations, including sales and support for the construction, ag, rental, government and defense industries, JCB says. He is also responsible for production at JCBNA’s headquarters in Savannah, Georgia.

To read more about Fox-Marrs being named president and CEO of JCB North America, visit:

Caterpillar moves its headquarters to Deerfield, Illinois

The announcement of the headquarters came on the heels of the company's earlier statement that it would move the manufacture of large-wheel loaders and compactors from Aurora, Illinois to its plant in Decatur, Illinois, and it would move manufacture of medium-wheel loaders to its plant in North Little Rock, Ark.

The move affected 800 jobs from the plant and left about 1,200 office and high technology engineering jobs at Caterpillar's Aurora, Illinois facility.

To read more about Caterpillar’s move, visit:

John Deere announces its acquiring the Wirtgen Group

The acquisition afforded Deere a worldwide presence in road construction equipment, along with wealth of products the company never offered in the past. 

The purchase price for the Wirtgen Group was approximately $5.2 billion.

At the time of the acquisition, Max Guinn, president of Deere's Worldwide Construction and Forestry Division, said, "This transaction enhances our global distribution options in construction equipment and enhances our capabilities in emerging markets. Spending on road construction and transportation projects has grown at a faster rate than the overall construction industry and tends to be less cyclical. There is recognition globally that infrastructure improvements must be a priority and roads and highways are among the most critical in need of repair and replacement."

To read more about Deere’s acquisition of the Wirtgen Group, visit:

John Deere inks a deal with Wacker Neuson to sell Kramer compact loaders and telehandlers

The two companies agreed to form a strategic alliance where Deere would sell Wacker Neuson’s Kramer brand of compact equipment at Deere dealerships.

The range of machines covered by the deal include the Kramer “green line,” built for the agricultural market. 

Starting in Europe with plans to expand to the Commonwealth of Independent States, North Africa and the Middle East, the deal also called for Deere to sell Kramer all-wheel-steer wheel loaders, telescopic wheel loaders and telehandlers, in addition to a variety of attachments, accessories and spare parts.

To read more about the partnership between Deere and Wacker Neuson, visit:

AGCO announces its buying Precision Planting from The Climate Corporation

“The acquisition of Precision Planting will solidify AGCO as one of the global leaders in planting technology and strengthen our position as a full line partner for professional farmers across the globe,” said Martin Richenhagen, AGCO’s chairman, president, and chief executive officer, at the time of the acquisition.

The deal came just a few short month after the Climate Corporation, a subsidiary of Monsanto Company, announced Monsanto's termination of an agreement with Deere and Company for the acquisition of the Precision Planting LLC equipment business.

To read more about AGCO’S purchase of Precision Planting, visit:

Hyundai Construction Equipment announces its producing 2,000 mini-excavators for CNH

The production of the excavators -- which Hyundai said should net the company about $449 by the end of 2021 -- is part of an effort to expand global reach.

Prior to the company's announcement, Hyundai also received an order for 145 excavating and general construction equipment units to be sent to New Zealand and Australia, as well as 285 forklifts for the U.S. construction firm Oldcastle.

To read more about the deal between Hyundai and CNH, visit:

Deere acquires Blue River Technology to advance machine learning capabilities

"We welcome the opportunity to work with a Blue River Technology team that is highly skilled and intensely dedicated to rapidly advancing the implementation of machine learning in agriculture," said John May, president, agricultural solutions, and chief information officer for Deere, at the time of the acquisition. "As a leader in precision agriculture, John Deere recognizes the importance of technology to our customers. Machine learning is an important capability for Deere's future."

Blue River Technology is a Sunnyvale, California-based company that successfully applied machine learning to agricultural spraying equipment.

Blue River has designed and integrated computer vision and machine learning technology that will enable growers to reduce the use of herbicides by spraying only where weeds are present, optimizing the use of inputs in farming – a key objective of precision agriculture.

To read more about Deere’s acquisition of Blue River Technology, visit:

Vermeer Corporation acquires McLaughlin Group

After purchasing a minority in the drill and vacuum excavator manufacturer in 2012, Vermeer bought all the remaining non-Vermeer interests of McLaughlin Group.

Vermeer CEO Jason Adringa said Vermeer was particularly interested in McLaughlin’s products for soft-dig excavation.

“Our initial investment in McLaughlin created the ideal opportunity to determine how the company culture and product portfolio fit within our organization,” Adringa said at the time of the acquisition. “Now we look forward to having the McLaughlin team and the products they design and manufacture become part of the comprehensive solution Vermeer provides to the utility market.”

To read more about Vermeer’s purchase of McLaughlin Group, visit:

Caterpillar announces its entering the utility vehicle market

The company announced its intention following a manufacturing and supply agreement with Textron Specialized Vehicles.

Starting in 2018, the company will offer UTV models through participating Caterpillar dealerships.

To read more about Caterpillar’s decision to enter the utility vehicle market, visit:

Kubota unveils its plans for an $87 million expansion effort in Kansas

Kubota Tractor Corporation confirmed plans to plant solid roots in Kansas for its North American Distribution Center (NADC) by announcing the details of its intent to purchase more than 200 acres near the company's current leased facility in Edgerton, Kansas.

Kubota is expected to design and build two, one million sq. ft., facilities to expand its distribution capacity and streamline logistics processes for the timely delivery of company-branded service parts and equipment.

To read more about Kubota’s expansion in Kansas, visit:

Former JCB CEO Arjun Mirdha joins Terex

Mirdha was appointed to the newly created position of chief commercial officer, and Terex also named Thomas Schramm was vice president of sales and product support for Europe and the Middle East.

Schramm is responsible for driving the sales and product support strategy and the lead team members in Europe and the Middle East for Terex and Demag mobile and crawler crane models. He also serves as a Demag global brand ambassador.

Mirdha, who spent 21 years at JCB, is responsible for the Terex Aeria Work Platforms commercial business.

To read more about these Terex appointments, visit: