Brazil has always been an important country for Caterpillar. It was only a few months into our existence as a company when we authorized our first Brazilian dealer and sold our first product there.
The journey from those early days to today is remarkable. Check out some incredible “firsts” …
Starting in 1961, Caterpillar machines helped construct the Urubupunga Hydroelectric Complex, one of the largest in the world. The Complex contained two dams - the Jupia (today known as the Engineer Souza Dias Dam) and the Ilha Solteira.
Around 150 Cat® machines helped construct this complex, which provided much-needed power to eight states: Sao Paulo, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Goias, Parana, Santa Catarina, Rio Grande do Sul and Guanabara. When it was completed it doubled the power output of Brazil.
Cat 631 and 641 wheel tractor-scrapers, push-loaded by Cat D8s and D9s, were used at Jupia to haul material for the earth fill section of dam. At lIha Soltiera, 15 Cat 769 off-highway trucks were among the fleet of units that moved 23 million cubic yards of material to form the three-mile-long dam. The Complex was completed in the early 1970s. The dam joined a long list, including the Hoover, Itaipu, Mangla, Three Gorges, and Bhakra Dams, where Cat products helped change the world.
In 1925 Caterpillar was formed by a merger between two companies and very quickly began to build a global dealer network. Brazil was one of the early global regions identified for new dealerships. In early 1926 the International Machinery Company (IMC), with branches in Recife, Sao Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro, became the first authorized Cat® dealer in Brazil. The first documented Caterpillar model sold by IMC in the country was a Sixty track-type tractor.
In 1954 Caterpillar Brasil S. A.—Maquinas e Pecas was formed. The new company – a wholly-owned Caterpillar subsidiary – was originally located in a small warehouse in Sao Paulo.
There, they manufactured earthmoving equipment and parts that pointed to the "great need for Caterpillar products in rapidly growing Brazil”, according to then-President, Harmon S. Eberhard. (Fun fact! The Brazil entity was our second foreign subsidiary, the first was organized in England in 1950.)
Today, Brazil is home to many of our customers, dealers and employees. Our facilities there manufacture more than 260 different models of equipment and engines. These include hydraulic excavators, track-type tractors, wheel loaders, motor graders, backhoe loaders and compactors, generators, Solar Turbines, EMD diesel-electric locomotives and Perkins engines. The products are made by our dedicated team of over 5,000 employees in the country.
SOTREQ and PESA serve our customers as the authorized Cat dealers there.
Diesel D4 track-type tractor with Trackson IT4 Traxcavator loading trucks in street widening project in heart of Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1949
First Caterpillar facility in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1954
Cat motor grader at the Sao Paulo, Brazil Plant, ca. 1960
Cat D4 track-type tractor at work in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1949
SOTREQ CAT dealer facility, ca. 1970
Cat dozer working on dam construction in Brazil, 1978
Cat equipment works to relieve Brazilian power shortages, 2001
In the hands of our customers, our products can make an incredible impact on a region. Here’s two major ways we’ve left a positive mark on Brazil – and, in the meantime, challenged ourselves to do more than we had ever done before.
In the early 1970s over 200 Cat machines played a key role in the construction of new highways for Brazil. One of the country’s boldest roadbuilding visions was the Trans-Amazonica Highway, which was made up of 3,300-miles of roadway. It was to be more than a major highway. It was the connection between eastern and western borders. Its construction immediately created 15,000 jobs and opened vast swaths of territory for farming, cattle raising, and mining.
In 2001 Caterpillar shipped 760 megawatts of electrical generating power to Brazil as part of a massive one-gigawatt distributed-generation project to relieve electric power shortages. With 90 percent of Brazil's power coming from drought-stricken hydroelectric plants - and mandatory rationing imposed by the Brazilian government - this was the largest electric power project ever undertaken by Caterpillar anywhere in the world to that point in time.
"It's probably the worst power crisis in Brazil's recent history." said Jim Parker, former director of Caterpillar Electric Power. "Between our Electric Power Group and the Cat Americas group, we are shipping generators to Brazil as fast as possible." One of the Caterpillar solutions was the installation of 31 Cat 3516 power modules at a power plant in Rio Branco, Acre, Brazil. The power plant allowed Acre to have surplus power – a rarity at the time.
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