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Caterpillar Competitors: Who Stacks Up Against This Construction Giant?

Brent Davis - May 10, 2021

Caterpillar Competitors

Caterpillar is a well-known American company that manufactures construction and mining equipment.

Their branded merchandise is easily recognizable and the company has grown to be the largest construction equipment provider in the world.

Alongside their construction business, they also deal in gas turbines, engines, diesel, and electric locomotives.

The company was formed in 1925 due to a merger that occurred between Holt Manufacturing Company and C.L Best Tractor Company.

In this article we will explore some of the biggest Caterpillar competitors. Caterpillar Competitors

The company has its headquarters in Deerfield, Illinois, and is a publicly traded company under the ticker symbol CAT.

Caterpillar employs over 100,000 people worldwide and has as of 2019 had a revenue of $53.8 billion.

The company has an operating revenue of $8.29 billion and is part of the Fortune 100 list, which is based on total revenue for the fiscal year.

The company has been able to drive significant recurring revenue through its sale of parts.

Caterpillar derives most of its profits from its international business which equates to 54% of its revenue, while North American sales account for 46%.

Caterpillar’s Biggest Competitors

The Caterpillar brand is easily recognized by its CAT logo as well as the yellow livery all its machines have.

Caterpillar has business interest in multiple industries but the bulk of its revenue is driven by its construction manufacturing division.

They sell products such as tractors, excavators, motor graders, and loaders.

They also have a strong footprint in the quarry and mining equipment space which the company categorizes as ‘resource industries.’

Alongside their manufacturing business, they also offer financial products to partners and dealers.

Their financing solutions allow for the leasing or purchase of Caterpillar equipment.

They offer wholesale finance options, capital loans, installment contracts, among other plans.

Caterpillar is the industry leader but they still have plenty of competitors in their industries.

Let’s take a look at some of their biggest competitors.

  • John Deere – A U.S. manufacturer specializing in agriculture machinery
  • JCB – A smaller company operating out of the U.K.
  • Volvo – The Swedish car manufacture which as a construction equipment division

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Caterpillar Competitors: John Deere

Caterpillar Competitors

John Deere is a company that was founded in 1836 and is also based in Illinois.

It was founded by John Deere and has become one of the largest manufacturers for industries like agriculture, construction, and forestry.

The company operates under the name Deere and Company with John Deere remaining the brand name.

Together with Caterpillar, they make up the top two largest manufacturers of heavy equipment.

Of the two, John Deere is a slightly smaller company but still has impressive financials.

As of 2020, the company’s revenue was $39.540 billion and it had an operating income of $3.883 billion.

The company is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol DE.

John Deere employs over 70,000 people and services counties around the world.


Caterpillar Competitors: JCBCaterpillar Competitors

JCB is a privately owned company that is the industry leader in the UK.

They produce equipment for industries such as agriculture, demolition, waste management, and construction.

They have their headquarters in Rochester, United Kingdom, and operate in North American, South American, African, Asian, and European markets.

JCB owns and operates out of 22 factories around the world.

The company is still owned by the Bamford family and due to their status as a private company, they are able to be incredibly ambitious without investors to answer to.

When compared to Caterpillar the company is much smaller in scale and employs around 11,000 people around the world.

The revenue for the company was reported to be $5.18 billion in 2019 and JCB is experiencing good growth.


Caterpillar Competitors: Volvo Construction EquipmentCaterpillar Competitors

Volvo CE is part of the Volvo group and competes with Caterpillar in many areas.

The company is one of the industry leaders for equipment such as agricultural haulers and wheel loaders.

The company has helped to pioneer compact construction equipment as well as road development and excavation equipment.

The Swedish company has its headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden. 

Despite Caterpillar’s substantial revenue and brand recognition, Volvo CE is aggressively expanding to compete with Caterpillar.

The company has a three-plan that will see them develop up to 5 locations in Illinois, bringing the fight to Caterpillar’s and John Deere’s front door.

The company has partnered with Alta Equipment Company as their exclusive dealer in Illinois.

Volvo CE has a revenue of $9.2 billion with an employee count of over 14,000.


What Is Caterpillars Biggest Advantage?

Caterpillar is the global leader for construction equipment with a strong brand identity that works in their favor.

They have the advantage of a good reputation and innovative, good quality products.

The company is comfortably in the lead against its competitors but its competitors all show strong growth which means Caterpillar can’t afford to be complacent. 

One of its biggest strengths is the sheer size of its dealer network.

The company has good coverage that spans every continent.

Outlook for the company remains positive as they invest in product design and brand development.

Despite the competitive nature of the industries it operates in, Caterpillar is likely to stay the industry leader.

Its competitors have a long way to go to catch up with the company’s size and success.\


Caterpillar Competitors: Final Thoughts

Caterpillar’s growth has largely been organic and it displays strong customer loyalty thanks to its exceptional products.

The company has also made various acquisitions that have helped to cement its leading position.

In 2011 the company acquired Bucyrus International, known for the mining equipment it produces.

Caterpillar also expanded into the rail industry when it acquired Progress Rail Services in 2006 and Electro-Motive Diesel in 2010.

Caterpillar’s industries can be quite volatile especially in the resource industries.

One of the biggest markets is China which is undergoing rapid urbanization but eventually, this will start to level off as targets are met.

When this happens the demand for construction equipment is likely to diminish which could affect Caterpillar and their competitors.

The company remains in a strong position and is comfortably ahead of its biggest competitor John Deere.

Smaller, locally-focused companies like JCB provide strong competition in some markets, but Caterpillar’s name recognition and brand identity allow it to remain competitive.


Brent Davis has been writing about the financial markets for 10 years and worked in research for the last five years at a Fortune 500 company. Brent's investing strategy is to buy high-quality companies and then let compounding do its thing.