January 16, 2020
Caterpillar has been a part of Mexico’s growth since one of our predecessor companies, the Holt Manufacturing Company, sold its first product in Mexico in 1897. Today, together with our local Cat® dealers, we support customers in numerous applications including mining and agriculture.
Here are some key moments in our history there…
From roadbuilding to the massive Plan Benito Juarez water conservation project, our customers have been part of some of the largest projects in recent Mexico history.
One incredible project? The Huites Hydroelectric Dam located on the El Fuerte River near Los Mochis, Mexico. When finished, the dam would provide 400 megawatts of power, help control flooding and irrigate land for farming.
Starting in 1992, a fleet of Cat machines moved 4.7 million cubic yards of dirt and rock. Even preparations for the task were monumental – and the Cat dealer was there for it all, helping locate project office space, find housing for workers' families and selling or renting more than 60 pieces of Cat equipment to build the dam. Their commitment to outstanding customer service remained steadfast throughout the project.
During the build, Cat equipment and teams worked around the clock. The Cat dealer kept the machines running smoothly by providing on-site maintenance and service with full-time technicians, service trucks and a large supply of parts. A staff of full-time technicians and two service trucks serviced equipment – oftentimes, pulling parts from an onsite storage trailer that stocked approximately 200 of the most commonly-needed parts!
Dealer service technicians performed preventive maintenance servicing during shift changes and lunch breaks. As the dealer said, “We have experience and we know how to take care of our customers."
If you were onsite during the build, you might have seen 769 off-highway trucks, D5N and D6H track-type tractors, 966 wheel loaders, rough terrain R80 lift trucks and 416 backhoe loaders hard at work.
In 1963, ground was broken for construction of a new Caterpillar subsidiary — Caterpillar Mexicana, S. A. de C. V. – near Monterrey, Mexico. This 45,000 sq. ft. factory and parts warehouse that would enable us to better serve dealers and customers in country.
Then Caterpillar President Bill Blackie said, “The manufacture of Caterpillar products in Mexico can make a positive contribution to the Mexican economy.” The first parts to be manufactured at the plant were track rollers for Cat dozers.
In January 1926, the Wm K. Holt Company became the first Caterpillar dealer in Mexico with headquarters in Mexico City. The dealership started just one year after Holt and Best merged to form the Caterpillar Tractor Co. (today Caterpillar Inc.). William was the son of Benjamin Holt, the inventor of the Caterpillar track-type tractor and one of our company’s founders.
The customer raved, “One week they were on stationary work running threshing machines, which was no load at all, but the way that it stood there and performed its task, with its consistent and snappy put-put, was a delight to see … It was doing the work of fifty mules.”
The customer, of course, was reference their new Best 30 track-type tractor that worked on agriculture and irrigation projects. The tractor – the first Holt sold in Mexico – was sold to a customer in Senora, Mexico, in October 1923 by the C.L. Best Tractor Co., one of our predecessor companies.
Almost 15 years earlier, our other predecessor companies – the Holt Manufacturing Company – made its first sale of two Caterpillar tractors. The customer, the Huasteca Petroleum Company of Tamaulipas, Mexico, received two Holt Caterpillar 45 track-type tractors, serial numbers 1065 and 1066. Back then in 1909, each machine was $4,000!
Today, we still proudly support our customers there with outstanding service, parts and equipment. Local customers also receive support from Cat Financial and Solar Turbines in Mexico.
We’re proud of our Mexico team which is dedicated to parts distribution, remanufacturing, components and manufacturing operations in mining, general construction, road construction, oil and gas and power applications. This highly engaged team demonstrates a continued passion for social responsibility, the environment and producing high quality products and services for our customers.
First Holt Caterpillar tractor sold in Mexico, 1909.
Holt Caterpillar Mexico advertisement, 1920.
C.L. Best 30 tractor working in Mexico, 1923.
Caterpillar dealer, William K. Holt, and T.R. Finley at work in Mexico City, ca. 1928.
Caterpillar Monterrey, Mexico plant, ca. 1963.
Caterpillar locations in Mexico include Nuevo Lardo, Monterrery and Torren. Learn more about our manufacturing, component and distribution facilities in Mexico.Learn More
More than 55 years ago the U.K. became our first major facility outside the U.S., but our history goes even further back to 1911. It’s quite a story, and it just keeps getting better.Learn More