Industry Overview

Agricultural Equipment

The operators of food, dairy, livestock and grain crop producing farms, as well as independent contractors that provide services to such farms, purchase most agricultural equipment. The key factors influencing sales of agricultural equipment are the level of net farm income and, to a lesser extent, general economic conditions, interest rates and the availability of financing, farm land prices, and farm debt levels. Net farm income is primarily impacted by the volume of acreage planted, commodity and/or livestock prices and stock levels, the impacts of fuel ethanol demand, crop yields, farm operating expenses (including fuel and fertilizer costs), fluctuations in currency exchange rates, government subsidies and tax incentives. Farmers tend to postpone the purchase of equipment when the farm economy is declining and to increase their purchases when economic conditions improve. The availability, quality, and cost of used equipment for sale also impact the level of new equipment sales. Weather conditions are a major determinant of crop yields and therefore also affect equipment buying decisions. In addition, geographical variations in weather from season to season may affect sales volumes differently in different markets. Government policies may affect the market for agricultural equipment by regulating the levels of acreage planted, with direct subsidies affecting specific commodity prices, or with other payments made directly to farmers. Global organization initiatives, such as those of the World Trade Organization, also can affect the market with demands for changes in governmental policies and practices regarding agricultural subsidies, tariffs and acceptance of genetically modified organisms such as seed, feed and animals.

Demand for agricultural equipment also varies seasonally by region and product, primarily due to differing climates and farming calendars. Peak retail demand for tractors and planting, seeding, and application equipment typically occurs in March through June in the Northern hemisphere and in September through December in the Southern hemisphere.

Dealers order equipment year-round, but harvesting equipment orders in the Northern hemisphere generally increase in the late fall and winter so that the dealers can receive inventory prior to the peak retail selling season, which generally extends from March through June. In the Southern hemisphere, dealers generally order between August and October so they can receive inventory prior to the peak retail selling season, which extends from November through February. The production levels of Agricultural Equipment are based upon estimated retail demand which takes into account, among other things, the timing of dealer shipments (which occur in advance of retail demand), dealer and Group inventory levels, the need to retool manufacturing facilities to produce new or different models and the efficient use of manpower and facilities. Production levels are adjusted to reflect changes in estimated demand and dealer inventory levels. However, because production and wholesale shipments adjust throughout the year to take into account the factors described above, wholesale sales of agricultural equipment products in any given period may not reflect the timing of dealer orders and retail demand for that period.

Customer preferences regarding farming practices, and thus product types and features, vary by region. In North America, Australia and other areas where soil conditions, climate, economic factors and population density allow for intensive mechanized agriculture, farmers demand high capacity, sophisticated machines equipped with the most advanced technology. In Europe, where farms are generally smaller in size than those in North America and Australia, there is greater demand for somewhat smaller, yet equally sophisticated, machines. In the developing regions of the world where labor is more abundant and infrastructure, soil conditions and/or climate are not conducive to intensive agriculture, customers generally prefer simple, robust and durable machines with relatively lower acquisition and operating costs. In many developing countries, tractors are the primary, if not the sole, type of agricultural equipment used, and much of the agricultural work in such countries that cannot be performed by tractors is carried out by hand. A growing number of part-time farmers, hobby farmers and customers engaged in landscaping, municipality and park maintenance, golf course and roadside mowing in Western Europe and North America also prefer relatively simple, low-cost agricultural equipment. Agricultural Equipment’s position as a geographically diversified manufacturer of agricultural equipment and its broad geographic network of dealers allows it to provide customers in each significant market with equipment that meets their specific requirements.

Major trends in the North American and Western European agricultural industries include a reduction in number but growth in size of farms, supporting increased demand for higher capacity agricultural equipment. In addition, the use of technology and other precision farming solutions to increase crop yield is becoming more established. In Latin America and in other emerging markets, the number of farms is growing and mechanization is replacing manual labor.

Government subsidies (including crop insurance) are a key income driver for farmers raising certain commodity crops in the United States and Western Europe. The level of support can range from 10% to over 30% of the annual income for these farmers in years of low global commodity prices or natural disasters. The existence of a high level of subsidies in these markets for agricultural equipment reduces the effects of cyclicality in the agricultural equipment business. The effect of these subsidies on agricultural equipment demand depends to a large extent on the U.S. Farm Bill and programs administered by the United States Department of Agriculture, the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union and World Trade Organization negotiations. Additionally, the Brazilian government subsidizes the purchase of agricultural equipment through low-rate financing programs administered by the Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Economico e Social (“BNDES”). These programs have a significant influence on sales.

Agricultural equipment manufacturers are subject to continuous changes in emission regulations and restrictions.

These changes require frequent changes in engine technology, which can involve significant research and development investments. Manufacturers generally attempt to pass these incremental costs to their customers, but these price increases must be balanced with the affordability of the equipment. Each market may have its own unique regulations, which adds a level of complexity required to meet global product needs.

Global demand for renewable fuels increased considerably in recent years driven by consumer preference, government renewable fuel mandates, renewable fuel tax, and production incentives. Biofuels, which include fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel, have become one of the most prevalent types of renewable fuels. The primary type of biofuel supported by government mandates and incentives varies somewhat by region. North America and Brazil are promoting ethanol first and then biodiesel, while Europe is primarily focused on biodiesel.

The demand for biofuels has created an associated demand for agriculturally based feedstocks which are used to produce biofuels. Currently, most of the ethanol in the U.S. and Europe is extracted from corn, while in Brazil it is extracted from sugar cane. Biodiesel is typically extracted from soybeans and rapeseed oil in the U.S. and Brazil, and from rapeseed and other oil seeds as well as food waste by-products in Europe. The use of corn and soybeans for biofuel has been one of the main factors impacting the supply and demand relationships for these crops, resulting in higher crop prices. The economic feasibility of biofuels is significantly impacted by the price of oil. As the price of oil rises, biofuels become a more attractive alternative energy source. Although oil prices have declined significantly since the summer of 2014, they are still at levels that make biofuels an attractive alternative energy source. This relationship will, however, be impacted by government policy and mandates as governments around the world consider ways to combat global warming and avoid potential energy resource issues in the future.

The increase in crop production for biofuels has also driven changes in the type of crops grown and in crop rotations.

The most significant change in U.S. crop production was the increase in acreage devoted to corn, typically using land previously planted with soybeans and cotton. In addition, a change in crop rotation resulted in more acres of corn being planted. As a result, agricultural producers are faced with new challenges for managing crop residues and are changing the type of equipment they use and how they use it.

Although the demand for new agricultural equipment tends to decrease during periods of economic stagnation or recession, the aftersales market is historically less volatile than the new equipment market and, therefore, helps limit the impact of declines in new equipment sales on the operating results of full-line manufacturers, such as the Agricultural Equipment segment.

Construction Equipment

The construction equipment market consists of two principal businesses: heavy construction equipment (excluding the mining and the specialized forestry equipment markets in which the Group does not participate), with equipment generally weighing more than 12 metric tons, and light construction equipment, with equipment generally weighing less than 12 metric tons.

In developed markets, customers tend to prefer more sophisticated machines equipped with the latest technology and features to improve operator productivity. In developing markets, customers tend to prefer equipment that is relatively less costly and has greater perceived durability. In North America and Europe, where the cost of machine operators is higher relative to fuel costs and machine depreciation, customers typically emphasize productivity, performance and reliability. In other markets, where the relative costs for machine operators is lower, customers often continue to use equipment after its performance and efficiency have begun to diminish.

Customer demand for power and operating capacity does not vary significantly from market to market. However, in many countries, restrictions on equipment weight or dimensions, as well as road regulations or job site constraints can limit demand for larger machines.

Although the demand for new construction equipment tends to decrease during periods of economic stagnation or recession, the aftersales market is historically less volatile than the new equipment market and, therefore, helps limit the impact of declines in new equipment sales on the operating results of full-line manufacturers, such as the Construction Equipment segment.

Heavy Construction Equipment

Heavy construction equipment typically includes large wheel loaders and excavators, graders and dozers. Purchasers of heavy construction equipment include construction companies, municipalities, local governments, rental fleet owners, quarrying and mining companies, waste management companies and forestry-related concerns.

Sales of heavy construction equipment depend particularly on the expected volume of major infrastructure construction and repair projects such as highway, tunnel, dam and harbor projects, which depend on government spending and economic growth. Demand for aggregate mining and quarrying equipment is more closely linked to the general economy and commodity prices, while growing demand for environmental equipment is becoming less sensitive to the economic cycle. In North America, a portion of heavy equipment demand has historically been linked to the development of new housing subdivisions, where the entire infrastructure needs to be created, thus linking demand for both heavy and light construction equipment. The heavy equipment industry generally follows macroeconomic cyclicality, linked to growth in gross domestic product.

Light Construction Equipment

Light construction equipment includes skid-steer loaders, backhoe loaders and small wheel loaders and excavators.

Purchasers of light construction equipment include contractors, residential builders, utilities, road construction companies, rental fleet owners, landscapers, logistics companies and farmers. The principal factor influencing sales of light construction equipment is the level of residential and commercial construction, remodeling and renovation, which is influenced by interest rates and the availability of financing. Other major factors include the construction of light infrastructure, such as utilities, cabling and piping and maintenance expenditures. The principal use of light construction equipment is to replace relatively high-cost, slower manual work. Product demand in the United States and Europe has generally tended to mirror housing starts, but with lags of six to twelve months. In areas where labor is abundant and the cost of labor is inexpensive relative to other inputs, such as in Africa and Latin America, the light construction equipment market is generally smaller. These regions represent potential areas of growth for light construction equipment in the medium to long-term as labor costs rise relative to the cost of equipment.

Equipment rental is a significant element of the construction equipment market. Compared to the United Kingdom and Japan, where there is an established market for long-term equipment rentals as a result of favorable tax treatment, the rental market in North America and Western Europe (except for U.K.) consists mainly of short-term rentals of light construction equipment to individuals or small contractors for which the purchase of equipment is not cost effective or that need specialized equipment for specific jobs. In North America, the main rental product has traditionally been the backhoe loader and, in Western Europe, it has been the mini-excavator. As the market has evolved, a greater variety of light and heavy equipment products have become available to rent. In addition, rental companies have allowed contractors to rent machines for longer periods instead of purchasing the equipment, enabling contractors to complete specific job requirements with greater flexibility and cost control. Large national rental companies can significantly impact the construction equipment market, with purchase volumes being driven by their decisions to increase or decrease the sizes of their rental fleets based on rental utilization rates.

Seasonal demand for construction equipment fluctuates somewhat less than for agricultural equipment. Nevertheless, in North America and Western Europe, housing construction generally slows during the winter months. North American and European industry retail demand for construction equipment is generally strongest in the second and fourth quarters.

In markets outside of North America, Western Europe and Japan, equipment demand may also be partially satisfied by importing used equipment. Used heavy construction equipment from North America may fulfill demand in the Latin American market and equipment from Western Europe may be sold to Central and Eastern European, North African and Middle Eastern markets. Used heavy and light equipment from Japan is mostly sold to other Southeast Asian markets, while used excavators from Japan are sold to almost every other market in the world. This flow of used equipment is highly influenced by exchange rates, the weight and dimensions of the equipment and the different local regulations in terms of safety and/or engines emissions.

The construction equipment industry has seen an increase in the use of hydraulic excavators and wheel loaders in earth-moving and material handling applications. In addition, the light equipment sector has grown as more manual labor is being replaced on construction sites by machines with a variety of attachments for specialized applications, such as skid steer loaders, mini-crawler excavators and telehandlers. Finally, the Chinese construction equipment market has grown significantly in recent years and is now the largest market.

General economic conditions, infrastructure spending rates, housing starts, commercial construction and governmental policies on taxes, spending on roads, utilities and construction projects can have a dramatic effect on sales of construction equipment.

Commercial Vehicles

Trucks

The world truck market is generally divided into three segments: light (gross vehicle weight (“GVW”) up to 6 metric tons), medium (GVW 6 to 16 metric tons) and heavy (GVW of 16 metric tons and above). The technologies and production systems utilized in the heavy and medium segments of the market require more specialized engineering than those used in the light segment of the market (which has many engineering and design characteristics in common with the automobile industry). In addition, operators of medium and heavy trucks often require vehicles with a higher degree of customization than the more standardized products that serve the light commercial vehicle market.

Customers generally purchase heavy trucks for one of three primary uses: long distance haulage, construction haulage and/or distribution.

The regional variation in demand for commercial vehicles is influenced by differing economic conditions, levels of infrastructure development and geographical region, all of which lead to differing transport requirements.

Medium and heavy truck demand tends to be closely aligned with the general economic cycle and the capital investment cycle, particularly in more developed markets such as Europe, North America and Japan, as economic growth provides increased demand for haulage services and an incentive for transporters to invest in higher capacity vehicles and renew vehicle fleets. The product life cycle for medium and heavy trucks typically covers a seven to tenyear period.

Although economic cycles have a significant influence on demand for medium and heavy vehicles in emerging economies, the processes of industrialization and infrastructure development have generally driven long-term growth trends in these countries. As a country’s economy becomes more industrialized and its infrastructure develops, transport requirements tend to grow in response to increases in production and consumption. Developing economies, however, tend to display volatility in short-term demand resulting from government intervention, changes in the availability of financial resources and protectionist trade policies. In developing markets, demand for medium and heavy trucks increases when it becomes more cost-effective to transport heavier loads, especially as the infrastructure, primarily roads and bridges, becomes capable of supporting heavier trucks. At the same time, distribution requirements tend to grow in these markets, resulting in increased demand for light vehicles.

Industry forecasts indicate that transportation of goods by road, currently the predominant mode of transport, will remain so in the future. Demand for services and service-related products, including parts, is a function of the number of vehicles in use. Although the demand for new commercial vehicles tends to decrease during periods of economic stagnation or recession, the aftersales market is historically less volatile than the new vehicle market and, therefore, helps limit the impact of declines in new vehicle sales on the operating results of full-line manufacturers, such as the Commercial Vehicles segment.

Commercial vehicles markets are subject to intense competition based on initial sales price, cost and performance of vehicles over their life cycle (i.e., purchase price, operating and maintenance costs and residual value of the vehicle at the end of its useful life), services and service-related products and the availability of financing options. High reliability and low variable costs contribute to customer profitability over the life of the vehicle, and are important factors in an operator’s purchase decision. Additional competitive factors include the manufacturer’s ability to address customer transport requirements, driver safety, comfort and brand loyalty through the vehicle design.

Buses

The global bus market is organized by missions, from city and intercity transport to tourism purposes, with a capacity ranging from 7 up to 150 seating/standing passengers. The Iveco Bus (previously Iveco Irisbus) and Heuliez Bus target market includes urban, intercity buses and long-distance touring coaches. Operators in this market include three types of manufacturers: those specialized in providing chassis to bodybuilders, those that build bodies on chassis produced by third parties, and those like Iveco Bus that produce the entire vehicle.

The principal customers of the bus segment are tour and intercity bus service operators, while the principal customers of the city bus segment are the transport authorities in small and large urban areas.

Deregulation and privatization of transport services in many markets has favored concentration towards large private companies operating in one country, in more than one neighboring country or at an international level. Demand has increased for highly standardized, high-use products for large fleets, with financing and maintenance agreements or kilometric pricing. Deregulation and privatization have also increased competition between large transport service companies, raising the level of vehicle use and increasing the choice of brands for operators in the sector.

Sales for urban and intercity buses are generally higher in the second half of the year, due to public entities budgeting processes, tender rules and buses production lead time.

Powertrain

The dynamics of the industrial powertrain business vary across the different market segments in which the various propulsion systems are used, and in many cases are particularly influenced by emission requirements. For vehicle and equipment applications, product development is driven by regulatory factors (i.e., legislation on emissions and, increasingly, CO2 emissions), as well as the need to reduce total operating costs. This, in turn, translates into customers seeking more efficient propulsion systems that enable lower total cost of ownership and higher productivity.

For on-road applications in fully developed markets, where economy and infrastructure drive demand for local and haulage transportation, light duty engines (below 3.9 liters in displacement) and heavy duty engines (above 8 liters) constitute the majority of demand, while medium duty engines (3.9-8 liters) cover the majority of needs in developing markets. Demand for heavy engines is driven by general economic conditions, capital investment, industrialization and infrastructure developments.

In the bus market, engine demand is increasingly influenced by the environmental policies of governments and local authorities (i.e., requirements for natural gas and hybrid solutions).

For the off-road market, engines in the 50 hp to 300 hp output range are dominant in all major markets worldwide, with demand for high-power engines predominantly in the European and U.S. markets. Demand for off-road applications in the construction business is driven by general economic factors and the level of public investment in infrastructure, which affects the need for replacement of old equipment and investment in more innovative solutions to boost productivity. The demand for off-road applications in the agricultural business is affected by similar drivers as the construction business, and is also dependent on the level of net farm income.

The Group believes that the evolution in emission regulations in Europe, the U.S. and Asia (Euro VI, Stage IV and Tier 4B) presents an opportunity for Powertrain to gain a competitive advantage through top level performance derived from technological solutions developed for engines and after-treatment systems (such as its High Efficiency SCR technology). The increasing trend among middle-sized original equipment manufacturers (“OEMs”) to outsource engine development, as a result of the significant research and development expenditures required to meet the new emission requirements, presents an opportunity for Powertrain to increase sales to third party customers. In addition, engine manufacturers occasionally supplement their available range with certain engines sourced from third-party suppliers.

The on-road market has some minimal local fluctuation during the year, tempered by the geographical distribution of Powertrain’s customer base, while the off-road market usually has a seasonal decline between November and January.

Competition

The industries in which the Group operates are highly competitive. CNH Industrial believes it has a number of competitive strengths that will enable it to improve its position in markets where it is already well established while it directs additional resources to markets and products with high growth potential.

Both Agricultural Equipment and Construction Equipment compete with: (i) large global full-line suppliers with a presence in every market and a broad range of products that cover most customer needs, (ii) manufacturers who are product specialists focused on particular industry segments on either a global or regional basis, (iii) regional full-line manufacturers, some of which are expanding worldwide to build a global presence, and (iv) local, low-cost manufacturers in individual markets, particularly in emerging markets such as Eastern Europe, India and China.

The competitive strengths of Agricultural Equipment and Construction Equipment include well-recognized brands, a full range of competitive products, and a strong global presence and distribution network. There are multiple factors which influence a buyer’s choice of agricultural and construction equipment. These factors include the strength and quality of the distribution network, brand loyalty, product features and performance, availability of a full product range, the quality and pricing of products, technological innovations, product availability, financing terms, parts and warranty programs, resale value and customer service and satisfaction. The two segments continually seek to improve in each of these areas, but focus primarily on providing high-quality and high-value agricultural and construction equipment products and supporting those products through their dealer networks. In both the agricultural and construction equipment industries, buyers tend to favor brands based on experience with the product and the dealer. Customers’ perceptions of product value in terms of productivity, reliability, resale value and dealer support are formed over many years.

The efficiency of the manufacturing, logistic and scheduling systems of Agricultural Equipment and Construction Equipment are dependent on forecasts of industry volumes and their anticipated share of industry sales, which is predicated on their ability to compete successfully with others in the marketplace. The segments compete on the basis of product performance, customer service, quality and price. The environment remains competitive from a pricing standpoint, but actions taken to maintain their competitive position in the current difficult economic environment could result in lower than anticipated price realization.

The Group’s principal competitors in the agricultural equipment market are John Deere, AGCO (including the Massey Ferguson, Fendt, Valtra and Challenger brands), Claas, the Argo Group (including the Landini, McCormick and Valpadana brands), the Same Deutz Fahr Group (including the Same, Lamborghini, Hurlimann and Deutz brands) and Kubota.

The Group’s principal competitors in the construction equipment market are Caterpillar, Komatsu, JCB, Hitachi, Volvo, Terex, Liebherr, Doosan, Kubota, Yanmar and John Deere.

In the commercial vehicles business, factors that influence a customer’s decision to buy a vehicle include product, parts and aftersales service availability, which is supported by the depth of the distribution network; price, features, performance and durability of products; brand loyalty; technological innovations; availability and terms of financing; and resale value. The ability to meet or exceed applicable vehicle emissions standards as they take effect is also a key competitive factor, particularly in those markets where such standards are the subject of frequent legislative or regulatory scrutiny and change, such as Europe and North America.

Commercial Vehicles competes on the basis of product features and performance, customer service, quality and price.

The Group believes that the segment’s competitive strengths include well-recognized brands, competitively priced products, technological innovations, a strong distribution and customer service network.

In the commercial vehicles business, Iveco brand principally competes with major manufacturers that have similar product offerings such as:

  • Daimler, whose brands include Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Fuso, Freightliner, Western Star and Bharat-Benz (India); 
  • MAN and Scania (both part of the Volkswagen group); 
  • Paccar, whose brands include DAF, Kenworth, Ken Mex and Peterbilt;
  • the Volvo Group, which sells products under the Volvo, Renault, MACK and UD Trucks brands.

In the bus business, Iveco Bus and Heuliez Bus’ main competitors are Daimler Buses (Mercedes-Benz and Setra brands), Volvo Bus Corporation, MAN (MAN and Neoplan brands) and Scania. In the firefighting business, Magirus’ principal competitor worldwide is Rosenbauer International AG. Iveco Defence Vehicles’ principal competitors are Rheinmetall, Oshkosh, Navistar, Nexter, General Dynamics, BAE Systems for defense; Mercedes Benz and MAN in the trucks business. In the heavy duty equipment business, Iveco and Iveco Astra’s principal competitors are Caterpillar and the Volvo Group.

In the powertrain business, product competition is driven to a significant extent by developments in emission regulations in the various markets in which Powertrain’s products are used.

The principal engine manufacturers with which Powertrain competes are:

  • Cummins, which has a global manufacturing presence and a broad product portfolio, particularly in the on-road and construction equipment segments; 
  • Deutz, which is principally focused on off-road applications; 
  • Perkins (part of the Caterpillar group), which has a global manufacturing presence and service network and offers a comprehensive range of products; 
  • John Deere, which is principally focused on the off-road segment; 
  • Volvo Penta, which is principally focused on the marine engine and power generation segments; 
  • Weichai, the leader in the Chinese market; and 
  • Isuzu, which has a principal focus on the excavator market.