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Friday 19 October 2018

Watch: Inside the New Holland tractor factory

David Doyle

We visited the 40 hectare site where 10 hectares are covered and to date 1.6m tractors have come off the production line

The CNH Industrial Basildon plant has a 2.5 kilometer assembly line, where if you're a New Holland owner, your tractor was built out of the 133 which are produced here every year.

Some 3.1m engines rolled off the production line from 1964 – 2008 and with over 4,000 visitors to Basildon each year no wonder there are so many blue tractor fans about.

What some tractor enthusiasts might not know is that just about all of New Holland tractors found on dairy farms and contractors yards in your locality are assembled at the New Holland Agriculture Plant in Basildon, Essex.

All tractors in the 120-315hp range which are exported to over 120 countries right across the globe are made there. The all-round T6 range from 125-175hp, the versatile T7 series from 175-270hp, and the most recent addition to the plant, the T7 Heavy Duty Range which won Machine of the Year 2017. The plant is a top 20 UK export company, exporting more than 90pc of tractors made.

Some of the recent investment at the plant includes a brand new production line for the T7 Heavy Duty range and a redesigned and relocated cab line, which focuses on quality and ergonomic operation as well as dynamic test facilities, each tractor goes through a predetermined dynamic road test on a rolling road to ensure it meets the exacting quality control standards.

In 1962 the construction of the Basildon plant started. Ford Tractors chose the Basildon site as its new global headquarters for tractor production.

It was to become the world’s first fully integrated facility for tractor manufacturing, with all components, including the engines, being designed and built on site. Basildon would evolve into a global manufacturing hub, exporting 70pc of production which represented 1pc of the UK’s entire export income.

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Today, not all parts are made in the UK plant. Rather Basildon represents a modern, integrated facility, and receives the parts from its sister CNH Industrial plants from across Europ. Engines and transmissions from FPT Industrial in Turin, Italy, while transmissions are from Antwerp, Belgium, front axles from Modena, Italy and cab frames from Croix, France.

The Basildon plant has produced some of the most iconic products which helped mechanize world farming, including the Ford 4000, 5000 and 7000 series and the iconic Ford 7810.

In 1991, following the acquisition of Ford New Holland by Fiat Geotech, the plant produced both the distinctive blue Ford New Holland machines until 1994, after which they were called simply New Holland.

In 1999 following the acquisition of Case Corporation by the Fiat Group, New Holland and Case were merged to create CNH Global, a world leader in farm machinery and construction equipment. The Basildon plant continued to produce New Holland tractors, and subsequently started to produce red Case IH tractors.


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