USA and Canada (English)
Europe, Middle East & Africa
Massey Ferguson entered the 1970s on the 60s’ wave of success.
From September this year, safety cabs became a legal requirement for tractors being sold in the UK.
With the continued growth of snowmobiling in the US and Canada, MF introduced new leisure time machines, increasing sales by more than 50%. From the early 70s, these machines offered the lowest centre of gravity in the industry, and were the quietest ever produced by MF.
In 1970, a new range of Massey Ferguson combines was announced for the European and Export markets, including the MF 520 and MF 625, designed for larger farms and harvesting contractors.
Two major innovations in the harvesting industry were introduced this year – the World’s first 4-row, self-propelled sweetcorn harvester, and the high-capacity, self-propelled MF 201 Cane Commander.
The MF 135 continued to be Massey Ferguson’s best-selling tractor, with more than 350,000 having been built since 1965. At this time, sales in Germany had reached a record level.
The following year, MF’s management structure underwent significant reorganisation, merging the UK Operations Unit with the World Operations Unit.
Manufacturing and quality control facilities were expanded in Aprilia, Italy, and pollution regulations were implemented throughout the World, presenting new challenges for Perkins.
During the same year, the MF 165 and MF 1080 were introduced into France, and the MF 102 sugar cane harvester was brought into production in Bundaberg, Australia.
North America’s largest combine harvester, the MF 760, was revealed to Canadian and American dealers after five years of development.
Massey Ferguson’s new four-wheel drive articulated tractor, the MF 1200 was introduced in the UK during ‘72. A new line of tractors offering features such as air conditioning was exhibited successfully at a major dealer show in North America, to be produced in 1976.
The MF 50B industrial tractor with loader and backhoe was introduced to MF’s worldwide markets and soon became a best-seller.
Early in ’73, an agreement was signed in Pakistan giving MF manufacturing rights for tractors, under which 4000 tractors would be assembled each year. Arrangements were also made for MF tractors to be manufactured in Poland under the name URSUS.
MF’s new high-capacity swather, the MF 655 was introduced during ’73 – it was able to cut widths of grain up to 21 ft at 8mph.
Worldwide requirement for cereals, meat and fibres this year, meant that the agricultural industry was unable to meet exceptional demand.
The following year, 1974, Massey Ferguson acquired the Hanomag construction machinery division of Rheinstahl A.G., West Germany. This meant that MF’s floor space for manufacturing industrial and construction machinery was increased by 170%.
More expansion was taking place at Brantford, Canada, as construction began of a machine shop and implement factory.
MF’s sales rose in many markets during ‘74, including the UK, Australia and South Africa, however most notably sales in Argentina rose by almost 100%.
1975 saw Massey-Ferguson de Mexico SA achieve record sales.
Plans were made this year to introduce 29 industrial and construction products, which would give MF one of the most modern and complete lines in the industry.
Adding to the company’s continuing expansion, a new factory was in progress in Poland to establish a 70,000 engine per year output. Agreement was also reached in Iran on a joint venture with Iranian interests to produce tractors, which included an engine plant at Tabriz.
Massey Ferguson added four new tractor models in 1976 - MF 595, MF 1135, MF 1155 and MF 1505 – by now there were eleven tractor choices ranging from 45 hp to 180 hp.
The range of harvesting machines and heavy duty implements were extended with the addition of a forage harvester, large round baler, disc harrow and chisel plough.
This year, the Banner Lane factory in Coventry produced a record 90,000 tractors.
Perkins also introduced four new engines to cater for a more diverse market, and went on to experience record sales in ’76.
By 1977, the average number of Massey Ferguson employees reached 67,151 – an increase of over 22,000 over the previous ten years.
In Far Eastern markets, sales increase by 50% over the course of the year, denoting the move towards mechanisation in the Far East, significantly in rice harvesting.
Demonstrating this trend, Massey Ferguson imported its 20,000th tractor into Japan.
Expansion continued for Massey Ferguson into the late 70s. In 1978, the Libyan Tractor Co. signed a contract to begin constructing an MF tractor assembly factory in Libya, and the Sudan government selected MF as a partner to build another plant as part of a manufacturing project.
Three-cylinder Perkins engines began to be assembled at the Polish URSUS tractor plant and MF regained leadership in the South African tractor market, as well as maintaining leadership in the combine market.
Construction machinery sales rose by more than 17% in ’78, helped by the introduction of the MF 400C and MF 500C crawlers, both of which had powershift transmission.
1978 saw the creation of one of the World’s most influential video games. Arcade game Space Invaders was released in Japan, and became so popular that it caused a coin shortage!
At the end of the 70s a number of new Massey Ferguson models were introduced. The MF 2000 Series of tractors was released into several European markets, a new line of North American four-wheel drive, high hp tractors was launched, and a range of compact tractors, from 16 hp to 21 hp was announced, as well as the MF 1560 round baler.
Elsewhere in the World in ’79, some MF models were sent to China to be assessed, and in Saudi Arabia a joint venture was agreed with A. Juffali & Bros. to assemble up to 1200 MF 200 Series tractors from 1982.
Massey Ferguson’s worldwide presence was growing, and with so many projects planned for the 80s, the future looked positive.